Chiara Tondi Resta is an Associate at Wiley, where her practice is focused on insurance coverage litigation and counseling. Chiara went to law school at the University of Virginia, and was President of the Innocence Project there. Although she doesn’t practice criminal law full time, post-conviction issues and work is something that is very important to her, and she dedicates her pro bono work to that. In particular, lately, she has spearheaded Wiley’s partnership with the Second Look Project. They represent individuals convicted of crimes in the District at age 25 and younger, and help them file petitions under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act to reduce their sentences).
Before college, Chiara was a professional ballet dancer. After she retired from that career, she went to college at University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) and studied Classical Archaeology and Latin. She was very conflicted about whether to go to law school or graduate school to study museum studies. She is very happy she went to law school, but her passion for museums and material culture is alive and well, and you can find her in a museum (in DC or elsewhere) in most of her free time.
When she’s not exploring museums, you can find Chiara spending time with her husband and their two black pugs. They are fixing up the historic home they purchased last year in the District.
Why did you join the WBA?
I joined the WBA because I was excited about the opportunity to hold a leadership position in my community early on in my career. As a junior attorney, it can be challenging to find ways to make your voice and concerns heard, but the WBA provided the perfect platform for that. That’s why I became co-chair of the Young Lawyers Committee—I wanted to speak for those women just starting their careers and make sure their concerns, ideas, and perspectives were part of the larger conversation in DC’s legal community.
What benefits has your membership brought you?
There are so many things I have gotten out of the WBA, but the ones I appreciate most are the opportunity to meet and learn from incredible women who I may not have met otherwise, and the chance to hold a leadership position. I have learned so much about leadership and management that I hope to take with me and continue honing as I continue in my career.
Why do you think others should join?
The possibilities with the WBA are endless! There really is something for everybody here. Whether you’re looking for mentorship and career guidance, to networking, to learning more about the substantive issues facing attorneys these days, the WBA provides it. It’s wonderful to have so many resources and people at your fingertips to make you a better attorney and person.
What are you excited about now?
I’m excited about an upcoming trip to Egypt (in fall 2022)! It’s somewhere I have wanted to visit since I was little, and I’m going with my parents and my husband. My husband and I were Classics/archaeology majors in college, my husband now has a PhD in medieval history (including Islamic history), and my parents are both super nerdy, so we are all going to geek out over every little thing we see. Plus, it will be so wonderful to spend time with my family and get to learn and grow together!
What words of advice do you have for women new to the profession?
This is a very difficult profession, in lots of ways, so don’t beat yourself up if it takes some time to find your footing. You’re going to make mistakes—we all do, and that’s okay! Try not to focus on that, and instead aim to be resilient and focus on how you are getting better. And if you’re able, find a good therapist!
What is the best advice you have received?
Slow down and take your time with things. Whether it’s work or personal, don’t rush just to get things done or to check a box. It’s easy in this day and age to focus on what’s coming next at the cost of not fully appreciating what you have/are doing now. If you intentionally take a pause, you’ll find you appreciate your life a lot more, and you’ll take a lot more pride in what you do.