Sandra Giannone Ezell
Bowman and Brooke LLP
1111 E. Main Street, Suite 2100
Richmond, VA 23219
B.A., 1987, University of Michigan
J.D., 1990, University of Michigan Law School
Professional/business/civic/nonprofit organizations in which you are/have been involved and
Our office does quarterly volunteer work at various charities around Richmond and I participate in that and have done pet adoption, senior center and food drives just to name a few. In addition, I am involved in numerous professional organizations including; Product Liability Advisory Council, American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section-Women Rainmakers’ Committee, Defense Research Institute-Diversity Committee (Board Member, 2006- 2009, Publications Chair, 2007-2008, Vice Chair Corporate Expo, 2008), Product Liability Committee (Automotive Products, Biomechanics and Injury, Consumer Goods, Food Products, Juvenile Products, Trial Tactics Committee, Drug and Medical Device Committee Women in Courtroom Committee Appointee, 2008-2009), Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, National Association of Women Lawyers, Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association, Virginia Bar Association, Richmond Bar Association, Virginia Women Attorneys Association and International Franchise Association.
Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?
I have had the opportunity to be influenced by many people both voluntarily and involuntarily. I have watched so many great women who knew how to and could use their voices and from them I learned to use mine. I have seen so many women who did not have a place to use their voices and from them I became invested in the struggle for equal access. I learned from Roswell Page how to try lawsuits. He is a fantastic trial lawyer. I learned first from Megan Antenucci how to be a woman in a law firm and how it is ok to embrace the parts of me that make me unique and incorporate them into my work with juries. I learned from my children that there are new ways to see old things and that appreciating differences in perspective is vital to understanding. I learned from my husband, Shawn Ezell, that strength is not loud or fast, and that you are stronger when you share yourself than you could ever be standing alone. I have learned from Rob Wise and David Graves that partnering with people to compensate for what you cannot do for yourself does not mean you cannot have it all, it just means you don’t have to do it all yourself. I have learned so many more things from so many more people that it is shocking to admit the things that I still have to learn.
What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?
I am most proud to have successfully re-invigorated the Richmond office of my firm. It has become the most diverse law office of a national firm in the city of Richmond and at the same time we have increased our quality of service and breadth of client base. The vision of diversity and inclusion which was the model for this office has proven to be effective and successful. We are in a position to deliver outstanding litigation services and do so with a diversity of talent and more importantly a diversity of perspective. This is an accomplishment in process, however, as we work on this every day.
What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?
Never deny who you are or what type of activities you enjoy when choosing a career. Embrace your essential nature so that you will be passionate about what you do and that passion will drive your success.
How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
You have to work hard at it. At the end of the story of my life, I want to have accomplished great things as a mother and wife (and grandmother). I want to have been there when it mattered and been reliable. I want to be the one that is the keeper of the family glue and the one who passes that on so that the family will remain together after I am gone. I am passionate about my family and our happiness, our togetherness, our respect for and understanding of each other, our individuality and our group dynamic. I also work hard at my career and in so doing set an example of one road that my children may choose to take. I have more passion for my family than for my job and when I have only a little left to give; I give it to my family. I do not apologize for this. This makes me better at what I do and better able to connect with people at all levels of my profession. I have to work very hard at
both, but they are both worth it.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
I have always wanted to be a lawyer. With a desire to be on a stage that was relevant and game-changing, trial practice was the only place for me. If I could not be a lawyer, I wanted to be a professor and teach. As it turns out, the law is inherently educational. I have, therefore, fulfilled both of my objectives.
What is your favorite book or movie and why?
I love “The Tipping Point.” One person can make a difference. No one should believe for a minute that they cannot have a profound impact on themselves and others. This life is full of opportunities that can be captured or wasted and I prefer the notion of being prepared to capture the ones presented to me.
What are two things about you that not many people know?
I am a country music fan. I believe that trial lawyers are story tellers and that is part of the reason I am drawn to country music. I also love when people can take the complex and make it simple. The best songs make me cry. The other thing that not many people know about me is that I am a fan of the UFC. I have been involved in martial arts in my life (not now) and I have always been a sports fan. I am a particular fan of the rawness, strategy and competition. My husband and I rarely miss a pay per view.
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