Jennifer Pafiti: Redefining Leadership and Advocacy for Gender Equality

Pomerantz LLP | Jennifer Pafiti - Advocacy for Gender Equality | CIO Women Magazine

For many years, the legal industry has been traditionally dominated by men. While significant strides are made toward gender equality, women lawyers and attorneys continue to face various challenges. These can include unconscious bias, a lack of access to mentorship opportunities, and the pressure to balance demanding careers with personal lives.

However, these challenges have not prevented a remarkable generation of women leaders who are breaking down barriers and reshaping the legal terrain. They are achieving success through their sheer perseverance, talent, and commitment to excellence.

One such trailblazer is Jennifer Pafiti, Partner and Head of Client Services at Pomerantz LLP. Her journey through the legal system personifies her resilience, representing many women leaders in law. “Well…as a woman in a male-dominated environment, I feel that while establishing yourself, you have to work twice as hard to prove half as much,” quotes Jennifer.

An Unconventional Journey of Success

Jennifer’s legal career in the U.S. is a testament to her ambition. After an early career in finance, Jennifer changed course to focus on a career in the legal profession. This seemingly serendipitous turn of events led her down a remarkable path.

Qualified as a solicitor in the U.K., Jennifer craved a change. She ventured across the pond to explore American law, initially planning a one-year stay contingent on passing the bar exam. If she landed a good job, she figured she might extend for another year. Fourteen years later, she’s still going strong.

Pomerantz Powerhouse:Jennifer joined Pomerantz LLP in 2014, becoming a partner within a year. Leveraging her dual U.K. solicitor and U.S. attorney qualifications, she heads client services while actively participating in complex securities litigation. She champions clients in both class-action and non-class-action lawsuits.
From Boutique to Giant:Her U.S. legal journey began at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, a well-respected firm. She then transitioned to Pomerantz LLP and played a climactic role in expanding the firm’s securities monitoring program, significantly increasing its coverage of institutional investor assets under management.
Beyond Program Development:Jennifer’s expertise extends far beyond client development. She actively engages in complex securities litigation and was part of the team that secured a record-breaking $3 billion class-action settlement against Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.
Consulting Expertise for Forbix Income Fund:She recently began consulting for Forbix, a nationwide lender that has underwritten more than $5 billion of loans. Forbix has expanded its investment portfolio and designed an income fund for family offices and institutional investors – and with Jennifer’s unique knowledge of institutional investors, the company is now utilizing her expertise to bring to the market a unique alternative investment. Jennifer’s extensive experience and network of contacts have proven invaluable in crafting a unique fund structure that is open-ended, with notes maturing 12-24 months and with investors having the flexibility to receive quarterly distributions of income earned or accruing yields (plus no performance fee or exit costs and only a 1% management fee). (forbixfund.com)

Jennifer’s impressive legal track record includes successful settlements in cases against KaloBios, a biopharmaceutical company, and the energy company, PG&E, following the wildfires in California, and BP, following the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Before her U.S. journey, Jennifer honed her legal skills in England, representing clients in high-profile cases and specializing in private practice civil litigation.

Beyond the Courtroom

Jennifer is a champion for gender equality in the legal profession. She served on the Honorary Steering Committee of Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) and continues to be a vocal advocate for women’s rights. She is actively involved in various legal associations, including the National Association of Pension Fund Attorneys, and regularly speaks at industry events.

Championing Investor Rights for over 85 Years

Established in 1936, Pomerantz LLP is the world’s oldest securities litigation firm. Founded by Abe Pomerantz LLP, the “dean of the class action bar,” the firm continues to break records and win landmark decisions that protect shareholder rights and hold companies to account for their financial wrongdoing. 

Jennifer’s clients include some of the most influential global investors, whose assets are safeguarded by the state-of-the-art PomTrack® monitoring system, which currently oversees over $9 trillion of assets under management.

The firm’s expertise is demonstrated not only by its results but also by the recognition it has received from courts, industry leaders, and respected media outlets like Forbes and The New York Times. Pomerantz LLP and its attorneys like Jennifer have been recognized consistently for excellence by prestigious legal publications and organizations.

A Leadership of Building Strengths and Embracing Innovation

Shaped by influential male mentors in her career, Jennifer has cultivated a leadership style that empowers her team. She throws colleagues “in at the deep end,” encouraging them to develop problem-solving skills and independent thought.

Jennifer leads by example, balancing meticulous focus with clear communication about her strengths (client relationships) and weaknesses (technology). Recognizing that effective leadership prioritizes team development, she actively seeks input on individual growth areas and nurtures a culture where innovation and challenging the status quo are encouraged. 

This collaborative approach extends to talent acquisition. New hires are valued for fresh ideas, organizational skills, and the ability to thrive in teamwork and solo projects.

During the pandemic, Jennifer’s leadership skills were put to the test. A meticulously planned client conference that was postponed multiple times due to COVID-19, finally came to fruition in 2022. The conference’s success was a hard-won triumph. Years of virtual interaction had left everyone craving face-to-face connection. However, under Jennifer’s leadership, the team had meticulously planned for every detail. The result was an in-person event that surpassed expectations and rekindled vital client relationships.

A Record of Recognition

Jennifer has consistently been recognized for her expertise in securities litigation and leadership:

  • 2023: Jennifer was one of only four individuals to be honored by the New York Law Journal’s Innovation Award
  • 2022: The Enterprise World named Jennifer as The Most Successful Business Leader to Watch.
  • 2021: Jennifer was selected as one of the “Women, Influence and Power in Law” by Corporate Counsel
  • 2021: and onwards: Lawdragon has named Jennifer among the Leading 500 Lawyers in the United States.
  • 2020: Named a Southern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers® (top 2.5% of attorneys in the region.)
  • 2019: Leading Plaintiff Financial Attorney by Lawdragon, Rising Star in Securities Litigation by Super Lawyers®, Top Young Lawyer by Los Angeles Magazine.
  • 2018: Lawyer of Distinction (an honor bestowed upon less than 10% of attorneys in any state.)
  • 2017: Super Lawyers® Rising Star and Top Women Attorneys in Southern California.
  • 2016: Daily Journal’s prestigious “Top 40 under 40” list of the best young attorneys in California.

These awards emphasize the recognition Jennifer receives and her commitment to client success.

Lessons for Leaders

As Jennifer shares her journey in an exclusive Interview with CIO Women Magazine, here are some vital lessons to grasp the essence of being a Leader (a good one!) 

  • Embrace the Unexpected: Like her initial one-year plan that blossomed into a flourishing legal career in the U.S., be open to new opportunities and challenges. “You never know where they might lead. And make sure you give yourself the options of opportunities,” she asserts.
  • Diversity is Strength: Her leadership thrives on encouraging diverse perspectives. “Collaboration and a willingness to learn from different viewpoints can extend remarkable achievements,” she adds. 
  • Do not be Afraid to Dive in: Jennifer’s mentors encouraged her to independently solve problems and view challenges as opportunities for growth (when in doubt, figure it out!)
  • Find Your Passion and Make a Difference: Her dedication extends beyond legal expertise, she advises, “Combine your skills with your passions to make a positive impact.”

From One Women Leader to Another

“I don’t want to be hired because I’m a woman – I want to be hired because I’m the best candidate. I don’t want to be part of a team to tick a box that requires a certain number of women to be involved – I want to be involved because I’m the most qualified.”  Says Jennifer when asked for her advice to aspiring women leaders in the legal industry. 

Her emphasis on continuous learning and embracing challenges resonates deeply. She advises, “You can achieve anything you want if you do the research, master your skill set, and take calculated risks. As an old saying goes, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Jennifer’s journey is an inspiration, reminding us that success stems not only from qualifications but from the courage to forge your path.

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