Susan L. Pollet
Chair of the Archive and Historian Committee
Q: When and why did you become involved in the
A: The Westchester Women’s Bar Association offered a natural
starting point for reinventing myself as a working mother when I was ready to
pick up my legal career after taking time off to start a family. At that point in my life it was important to
connect with other women who had successfully navigated professional and family
responsibilities. As our culture is
slowly starting to acknowledge, this careful balancing act is largely the
province of women, and I found the support and guidance of the women I met at
the WWBA to be a vital part of my successful re-entry.
Some of the women I
met through the WWBA during those early re-entry days ultimately became my
colleagues and mentors. A neighbor of
mine suggested I reach out to Stephanie Melowsky who graciously responded to my
out-of-the-blue email inquiry and invited me to an inspiring diversity lecture
organized by the WWBA Diversity Committee.
Through Stephanie, I
connected with then-president, Susan Edwards Colson. Susan invited me to Law Day where I was
inspired to see the WWBA reaching out to engage the next generation of
lawyers. Susan and I later went on to
found and co-chair the Women in Professional Transition Project in order to
support WWBA Members making changes in their legal careers, as I was
doing. This turned out to be a great way
to meet and help other members.
Around that same
time, the WWBA hosted its annual Cocktails and Conversation event on the
rooftop at the Red Hat. I was introduced
to then incoming president Lisa Denig who was her usual charming and energetic
self. She introduced me to anyone and
everyone she thought I should know, including my future co-chair of the real
property committee, and now trusted mentor, Michele A. Luzio. After being introduced that night, Michele
and I ended up co-chairing the Real Property Committee together for the next
It’s remarkable to
look back now and recognize how these inspiring and dedicated women supported
me personally, and professionally, as I navigated my re-entry into the legal
Q: Which WWBA activities have you participated
A: While part of the WWBA, I’ve cochaired the Real Property
Committee, and the Women in Professional Transition Project. Each of these
roles has offered me the valuable opportunity of connecting with other women in
the WWBA and Westchester’s broader legal community.
This network is
especially valuable to me as a solo practitioner. In particular, the community
of members in the real property committee, has become a valuable collaboration
among knowledgeable practitioners in the field.
Our bi-monthly meetings provide an opportunity to identify and discuss
common practice issues. During my time
as Co-Chair, it has been a goal of the Committee to offer its members a space
to learn and sharpen skills by harnessing the collective experience and legal
expertise of the larger group.
Frequently the members make client and resource referrals to support one
another. Furthermore, on a personal
level, it’s been very rewarding getting to know that group of women.
Susan Edwards Colson
and I founded the Women in Professional Transition Project to support WWBA
Members making changes in their legal careers.
We recognized there was value to be offered to Members by providing a place
to connect, and to exchange ideas and resources. Among the group there was
always something to learn, a referral to be made or a way to expand our
networks. This project was doubly
rewarding because supporting other women in professional transition helped me
with my own.
Q: Tell us about your practice, including what
you like most about it and what are you find most challenging.
A: I am a solo-practitioner specializing in residential real
estate and estate planning.
On the real estate
side of things, I really enjoy working with first-time buyers, and helping them
transition to the next chapter in their lives.
They usually have a lot of questions and it is rewarding to be able to
offer them guidance and peace of mind. I
also enjoy getting to know the group of real estate agents, title agents,
mortgage brokers and the other lawyers making up Westchester’s residential real
On the estate
planning side of things, I’ve come to understand that estate plans are about
more than how much money you have. Ultimately,
they reflect a given client’s personal goals and values. I enjoy helping my
clients identify those goals and envision their legacy, and then translate
those goals into a comprehensive plan.
On the practice
management side of things, being a solo practitioner definitely has its rewards
– and challenges. First and foremost, I appreciate the autonomy and flexibility that being your own boss provides. As mother to two young children, it is
especially important to me to be able to work remotely and navigate my work
responsibilities around my parenting responsibilities. As the boss, I never have to make excuses or
seek permission to attend that school concert or parent teacher conference. On the other hand, the buck stops with me.
If there’s a problem, I am the only one to solve it, and I need to wear every
hat: bookkeeper, IT department, billing department, paralegal, file clerk. You name it, I do it! It can be challenging to be and do All The
Things, All The Time, but for me the trade-off has been worth it.
Q: How do you think the legal profession will
change in this time of the pandemic, and how do you believe it’ll impact women
in the profession in the community?
A: I imagine that some of the changes we have made to adapt to
the COVID-19 pandemic will last long after the pandemic has passed. For example, remote work is likely here to
stay and to be extended to more people, including working from home, and, for
better or worse, virtual meetings.
In particular, I am
curious to see what impact this time in our culture has on women’s professional
lives. At this particular moment, I
think women especially are struggling to balance family and household demands
with professional responsibilities, because there’s no longer a clear division
between the two. This universal “work
from home” moment is revealing just how deep the inequities of caretaking and
household management have traditionally been between men and women, even when
both are working full-time jobs. What
will we do with that information? Will
we decide that affordable quality childcare is something we want to make
accessible to everyone so that women, and all parents, are free to pursue their
careers? I hope so, and I hope we use
this moment as an opportunity to reexamine how corporate culture can do better
by women and families.
Q: When you are not practicing law, what are your
activities in the community pre-and postcoronavirus pandemic?
When I’m not working, I am active in my local community association, where I am
a member of the executive board. We
monitor and address civic issues in our town, connect neighbors and build community. We’ve been able to meet virtually during the
health crisis and, in a way, our role is even more vital now as we strive to
make sure our most vulnerable and affected neighbors have the support they
need. I’m also part of the parent’s committee of my son’s preschool. Taking leadership roles in both these groups
is rewarding, not only because of the opportunities these roles provide to
engage with and support my immediate community, but because of the neighbors
and friends I’ve met along