Meet the remarkable Nancy Weng, an accomplished, first generation Asian American lawyer whose unwavering dedication to advocating for the underrepresented has been the defining force behind her accomplished career. In her formative years, Nancy grappled with the choice between a career in law and one in journalism. Ultimately, she found her calling in the field of law, as it seamlessly melded her passion for both writing and comprehensive reading. This realization fueled her pursuit of a legal education during her undergraduate studies.
Today, Nancy Weng is a licensed attorney in two states: Texas and California. In Texas, her legal practice predominantly focuses on personal injury cases, while in California, she specializes in bankruptcy and real estate litigation. Nancy’s diverse legal expertise underscores her dedication to serving her clients’ needs in a dynamic and multifaceted legal landscape.
Overcoming Challenges with Emotional Intelligence
In Nancy’s law firm, her main area of expertise is personal injury cases. She recognizes that each client brings their own set of challenges to these cases. When accidents result in injuries, the emotional impact extends beyond the victims themselves, affecting their families as well. This creates a broad ripple effect of emotional distress.
In cases of severe injuries, Nancy Weng understands that money alone can’t completely ease the pain or bring back normal life. It’s exceptionally tough to tell a client they might need lifelong care, requiring sensitive and personal conversations. In these situations, Nancy often takes on a supportive role, akin to a therapist, providing a compassionate presence and a listening ear. She’s fully aware of the sensitivity surrounding these matters.
Shattering Barriers Everyday
Almost every successful business leader faces a multitude of challenges on their path to success. Nancy, however, doesn’t believe she’s conquered or navigated past these obstacles; she encounters them daily. She acknowledges, “there’s the aspect of being female, especially in a litigious profession where adversaries aim to do their job, which is nothing personal but to challenge me. So, in terms of barriers, being female means having to constantly prove oneself, to be ready and competent.”
Nancy doesn’t dwell on these challenges; she sees them as opportunities for personal development. She thinks they’ve toughened her, allowing her to approach any situation with an air of unpredictability. In a field mostly dominated by men, she values the changing landscape where young women lawyers are confidently making their mark in the courtroom.
She concludes, ”I think the short answer to barriers is overcoming implicit biases that everybody has, your client has, and opposing counsel has. If you’re in a trial with jurors, every juror has an implicit bias.”
Hiring Talent the Right Way
When Nancy conducts interviews at her firm, whether for lawyers, paralegals, secretaries, or receptionists, her initial focus is on assessing their enthusiasm. She seeks individuals who show a passion and resilience that can sustain them through challenging days while maintaining a positive and determined outlook.
As a leader and business owner, Nancy takes an open and candid approach when addressing her employees. She emphasizes the inevitability of both difficult and rewarding days. However, Nancy’s ultimate goal is to identify team members who are committed to the long-term journey and can consistently deliver quality work.
Nancy engages in candid discussions with some employees who express their aspirations, whether it’s aiming for executive roles transitioning from paralegals to lawyers or aspiring to excel as top-notch paralegals. What truly resonates with Nancy is the grit, perseverance, and sense of purpose these individuals exhibit. When she identifies these qualities and personality traits in a candidate, she is more than willing to bring them on board.
For Nancy, it’s not about the prestige of the schools they attended or their degrees; it’s about their skillset and mindset. Nancy did not graduate from a top-tier school or attend a renowned law university or college herself for financial reasons (even though she was accepted by high ranked schools), which is why she values hard work mindset, determination, real life experiences and the ability to handle adversity in candidates over formal qualifications. Nancy Weng, leading by example, welcomes genuine talent into her firm, prioritizing merit over conventional hiring norms.
Nancy adds, ”I advocate for and look beyond all those things that are on paper and you look at the person that’s in front of you and what is in their mind, what is their growth mindset going to be in this profession five years from now or 10 years from now?
The Winning Moments
Nancy’s most noteworthy professional milestone occurred during her initial decade as a lawyer. During this period, she successfully tackled cases independently, demonstrating remarkable self-reliance by handling a two-week trial without the presence of an experienced trial attorney to rely on —a considerable achievement.
In her subsequent decade, Nancy came to the realization that she wasn’t merely a lawyer but also a businesswoman. Juggling the roles and diverse responsibilities of both lawyer and business owner presented a significant challenge. Nancy’s ability to excel in these dual roles stands as her most substantial professional achievement to date.
Entrepreneurship resembles a triathlon, demanding multitasking skills. Just like in a triathlon, you don’t need to be the best in every aspect or come in first place; instead, it’s about maintaining a consistently strong overall performance. Success in entrepreneurship hinges on consistently performing well across different aspects of business management, similar to achieving a consistently high average score.
Nancy Weng adds, “Maybe, I don’t have the highest numbers in my business sometimes, or I don’t have the highest profile or, maybe we didn’t even get the cases that we wanted that I have that they’ve gone with somebody else. So, I don’t need to beat everybody in everything but as long as I feel that I have a pretty good average across those categories, , I feel like I accomplished something.’”
Finally, “finding the right partner is key. You spend more time with your law partner than your family so your style of management and personalities need to just clique. I have been extremely fortunate to have Arasto Farsad as my law partner for over 5 years. He is impressive and an extremely skilled attorney in his own right and we just complement each other. But I couldn’t have done any of this without him.”
Staying up-to-date with Latest Developments and Trends in Law
Nancy Weng believes in the power of networking and considers colleagues to be of utmost importance. To get to know other colleagues who specialize in different fields, it is essential to connect and build long-lasting relationships. While she is a Bankruptcy and Personal Injury lawyer and doesn’t handle, for instance, divorces and immigration cases, she often has questions about fields as those issues intertwine with her practice areas from time to time. By interacting and establishing good rapport with other colleagues, she can find answers to her questions and reciprocally offer her assistance to them. She adds, “I’m always growing, always listening to what my esteemed colleagues have to offer.”
Nancy has joined a group that meets every month; it’s like a close-knit committee. She adds, “We have meetings where we sometimes bring in judges to discuss recent developments in the law or share insights from cases where they’ve received certain rulings from specific judges.
This kind of interaction is extremely valuable because every judge and every court is different. So, when you’re able to meet with colleagues and they inform you about a ruling they received from a particular judge, it can be quite different from what you might encounter with a different judge down the street. I believe this is the best way to stay updated with recent developments in the local legal landscape where I practice.”
Additionally, when a new case arises, colleagues often spread the word by either referring a particular lawyer to the client or sending an email to inform the lawyer about the case. This culture of support and collaboration is highly valued among Nancy Weng and her peers.
Breaking the Notion Behind Work-Life
Balancing Work and Life: As a lawyer, mother, and wife, Nancy has many responsibilities to fulfill be it at home, office, or more. Therefore, there is not a “balance” at any given time on any given day. Her entrepreneurial spirit extends beyond her legal practice, encompassing the management of her offices and the intricate juggling of her various roles.
She added, “you do the best you can with the limited time in the day we all have and the best I can do is prioritize each hour of my day, every day. Do I have it all balanced out? Absolutely not. Some days I feel I am failing at everything. But I take it day by day. The hardest things that you face in life and overcome are intrinsically the most valuable.”
Nancy pens a Word for Women Leaders
In Nancy Weng’s view, one of the most essential qualities a woman leader should possess is a willingness to support other women in their journey to success, even if it means they surpass her own achievements. It is not about pushing others down because there is only a finite amount of success to go around. Instead, it is about having a mindset that believes that when you help other women thrive, it contributes to your own success.
“We should all strive to help each other reach our full potential. Personally, I take great joy in seeing individuals I’ve mentored or who have worked under my guidance in law school reach remarkable heights in their careers. For instance, one of my former law clerks initially clerked for me during her second year of law school.
We maintained a strong connection, and I provided her with advice based on my own experiences. It is incredibly gratifying to see her achieve greatness, such as working as in-house counsel for very successful Silicon Valley startups, which have had substantial IPOs. Her success is also my success, and I firmly believe that fostering this spirit of mentorship and support is a crucial quality for women leaders.”