INTERVIEW OF KRISTY JOHNSON
Taken by: Adriana Collado-Hudak
Q: How did you become involved in MDFAWL?
A: I was a member of the Tallahassee Chapter of FAWL. Then, I moved to Miami and attended an event sponsored by MDFAWL. There, I ran into Edith Osman, who was a partner at my firm, Carlton Fields, P.A. After the event, Edith asked if I wanted to become involved with MDFAWL. There was an opening on the Board of Directors, and I volunteered. The rest is history!
Q: What is your best memory from your years in MDFAWL?
A: Spearheading MDFAWL’s Thirtieth Anniversary Gala in 2010. I was the incoming president of MDFAWL, which meant I was responsible for planning the Annual Installation Gala. Since the Installation coincided with MDFAWL’s thirtieth anniversary, I decided to do a special dinner event to celebrate both occasions. While preparing the evening’s program, I got to interact with and profile several MDFAWL past presidents. Those profiles were videotaped and played during the Gala.
Q: What is the one piece of advice you wish someone told you when you were a junior attorney/just starting out?
A: Have a board of directors for your career. Different people served different roles for me throughout my career, and I wish I’d known this sooner.
Q: What is your favorite MDFAWL program?
A: My favorite is the MDFAWL Judicial Reception.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My daughters, on a daily basis. They inspire me to make our profession better for their sakes. Hopefully, they won’t have to face the same hurdles as I, and many women, still do.
Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing women in the law today?
A: Implicit bias. I’ve seen it permeate in so many different ways: how women are treated in the courtroom and how challenging it can be to generate business, both internally and externally. When I became a mother, certain people in my prior firm (not all) questioned whether I’d be able to travel and work at the same level as before. Assumptions were made about my career and dedication that were not made about my male colleagues. It was hard to convince certain people that I could be both a good mother and effective lawyer.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: In 2016, I joined my husband’s firm—we’re soon to be Alderman Johnson. We specialize in civil litigation, business and employment, mostly. Having our own firm gives me the opportunity to travel and be with my family, which is the right move for me at this point in my life.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A: Get involved with something you enjoy. The best way to have internal credibility at any firm is to develop external credibility. Involvement in MDFAWL gave me huge credibility at my previous firm. Because of this, I was seen as a leader and someone who cares about the community. This put me on a partnership track and gave me an edge in career advancement.