ABA Women.Connected seeks to attract, retain, and promote women attorneys in competition and consumer protection law to increase diversity, inclusion, and leadership in those practices. It recently chose to spotlight Bonnie Lau in its “10 Things You Didn’t Know About…” series. Bonnie is an antitrust litigation partner at Morrison & Foerster, incoming co-chair of the Board of ABA Women.Connected, and a recognized leader in promoting diversity and inclusion.
Morrison & Foerster Antitrust Associate Margaret Webb interviewed Bonnie and authored the article below. Read on to learn Bonnie's advice, including how to be authentic and become comfortable with being uncomfortable:
- Developing mentors: Bonnie recommends actively cultivating connections with potential mentors. Relationships are stronger when they are a two-way street, so rather than simply asking for advice and support from her mentors, Bonnie also tries to find ways to be an asset to them. For example, she suggests offering to write an article with your mentor or making an introduction to help your mentor develop new relationships.
- Be comfortable being uncomfortable: The best advice Bonnie has received over the years is to continually push yourself past your comfort zone. Professional growth will inevitably require you to take chances and expand your skill set. Bonnie advises junior attorneys to be proactive about seeking new opportunities, even if they make you nervous.
- Be authentic: Bonnie’s advice for effective networking is to cultivate trust. She tries to network with people she has a genuine connection with, rather than forcing it. Bonnie also looks for ways to be a resource for people she meets. She starts small (as a foodie, she loves giving restaurant recommendations) and works toward becoming a trusted advisor who friends and colleagues turn to for their professional needs.
- Litigating is a team sport: Bonnie’s secret to success is building a fantastic team. Bonnie looks for ways to provide opportunities to younger attorneys to help them build confidence and develop their skill sets. She strives to follow the servant leadership philosophy and empower her team members to voice their opinions and take ownership of key decisions.
- Stay tuned: Bonnie’s favorite podcast is Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara. She particularly enjoyed his recent interviews with Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, and Jerry Blackwell and Steve Schleicher, the two lead prosecutors in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
- Success story: If Bonnie could have dinner with anyone, she would choose Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo. Nooyi is an inspirational and trailblazing woman of color who made her way to the top of the corporate ladder and has advanced the conversation on corporate ethics and sustainability, employee wellbeing, and the future of remote work.
- Give more than you take: Bonnie’s favorite book is Give and Take, by Adam Grant. The book posits that there are three behavioral styles that people adopt in pursuing success: givers, takers, and matchers. Grant suggests that givers are the most successful because they build broad, supportive networks and encourage their teams to work more effectively. Grant’s book was affirmational for Bonnie, who is a natural giver. His book gave her confidence that she could find success in the hard-nosed world of litigation without compromising her own personal philosophy of kindness and generosity.
- Pandemic indulgence: A weekly massage. The best way to unwind, hands down.
- Alternate career: If Bonnie wasn’t a fierce antitrust lawyer, she would be a professional dancer and choreographer.
- Off the clock: On a Saturday afternoon, Bonnie is most likely to be found walking Zoe, her corgi, with her husband along the beach at Crissy Field in San Francisco.