Kate Mueting is Firm Administrative Partner and Co-Chair of the Discrimination and Harassment Practice Group at Sanford Heisler Sharp. Her practice focuses on discrimination, harassment, and retaliation matters, representing individuals and classes.
Since joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Kate has been recognized by U.S. News as among the “Best Lawyers” in America for representing individuals in employment law. She has also been among a handful of employment lawyers nationwide honored as a “Rising Star” by Law360 in 2019, and the National Law Journal recognized her as one of Washington, DC’s Rising Stars in 2017. The Profiles in Diversity Journal also recently recognized her as among its Women Worth Watching in Leadership. She is also the recipient of WBA’s 2018 Mussey-Gillet Shining Star Award in 2018, which recognizes a member who makes extraordinary contributions to the organization.
Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Kate completed clerkships for the Honorable Michael J. Melloy of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and for the Honorable Richard J. Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia. Kate has also worked as a lawyer with Covington & Burling and DC’s Children’s Law Center and as a Team Leader with AmeriCorps.
Kate is involved in her alumni networks, particularly through her role as an adjunct law professor in the University of Iowa College of Law’s DC Field Placement Program. She is on the Leadership Advisory Committee of the National Women’s Law Center and the Board of Advisors for the Center for Labor and Employment Law at New York University School of Law.
When Kate is not lawyering, she enjoys spending time outside with her husband and their two daughters.
When did you join the WBA? How are you involved?
I joined the WBA in 2015, and I’ve been involved in the Employment Law Forum and the Membership Committee.
Why did you join the WBA?
I am enthusiastic about the WBA’s mission of advancing and protecting the interests of women lawyers. I represent a lot of female lawyers in my work as an employment discrimination attorney, and I am committed to improving equity in the legal profession.
I also joined for very practical reasons; I was thinking ahead to building the case for partnership at my firm, and I wanted more leadership, public speaking, and networking opportunities.
What benefits do you get from being a part of the WBA and why do you think others should join?
So many benefits!
Some benefits are practical. The WBA has given me leadership opportunities; I’ve led projects and meetings and coordinated events. I have had dozens of public speaking opportunities – speaking on pregnancy discrimination, negotiations, gender pay equity, and professional development. I’ve met lots of other attorneys, several of whom helped my career by giving me advice and mentorship and referrals.
Other benefits are more transcendent. I get a lot of energy from my WBA friends and from feeling connected to other women lawyers and to efforts to improve equity in the legal profession.
How has being a parent enhanced your career?
First of all, what a great question! Too many times we focus on all of the sacrifices that working parents have to make, so it is great to think about how my roles enhance one another.
I am a fairly new mother – my daughters are 2.5 years old and 6 months old – so I look forward to continuing to reflect on this question as they grow.
I think I now have a lower tolerance for inefficiencies, and I think that makes me a more decisive and confident attorney. And while I’ve always felt a responsibility to work in the public interest, my daughters definitely inspire me in working to improve the lives of women in the workplace.
Do you have a mentor/hero?
My first mentor through the WBA’s formal mentorship program was Elaine Fitch. (As an aside, the mentorship program is an amazing benefit – take advantage of it!) Elaine has continued to provide me with valuable advice and insight as I have strategized about my career, and I am so grateful to her.
What words of advice do you have for women new to the profession?
Do work that you love. Too many people have told me that I’m one of the only happy lawyers they know. Reflect on what you like to do and what you’re good at, and try to make that happen in your career.