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Law Firm Head Taken Aback By Reax to Her Promotion

Posted Nov 26, 2007 12:42 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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Philadelphia lawyer Nina Gussack had long held top posts at her firm, Pepper Hamilton. So when she became chairwoman in February, it seemed like a natural progression, especially considering she was the firm's top rainmaker.

But the outpouring of calls and emails from women lawyers across the country took her by surprise, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

"In our environment, it was not a big deal," Gussack tells the paper. But her elevation was a big deal to others. Indeed, she says, "I got telephone calls from across the country from women who were incredibly supportive. The e-mails and the telephone calls were from people who were so excited to see that it" could happen.

Gussack continued to rise while raising two sons with her husband, Allan R. Stein, a civil procedure prof at Rutgers University in Camden, N.J.

"You know, as any woman working full time with children will tell you, it is hard, and you really have to be committed to it, and it really helps to have a spouse who is committed to it at those most urgent moments," Gussack tells the Inquirer. "There is nothing like being in a meeting with a senior client representative and having your kid call you and ask, 'Do I really have to take these clarinet lessons? I have to have an answer to this now, Mom.' "

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