Owner, Leoni Law
Terry R. Leoni has almost 15 years experience practicing law, and has spent the past 5 years at the helm of her own law firm. Through her tenacity and perseverance, she has been able to accomplish more than she ever thought possible. Her practice primarily focuses on labor and employment issues, where she loves helping her clients take their power back! She assists women with harassment, discrimination, retaliation, workplace investigations, executive compensation issues, and training and coaching. She is also an avid public speaker - whether it is live, through a webinar, or a podcast.
1. What has surprised you the most about the trajectory of your career?I never thought I would go to law school, and I never thought I would be a litigator given my fear of public speaking. I never thought I would work in private practice, and never, never, never planned on being an entrepreneur with her own practice! I think I constantly like challenging myself and proving myself wrong. But, the most surprising is how much I love the freedom and independence of my own business, and helping other women find the same, whatever their career choice.
2. What tips do you have for other women just starting out in your profession?
Find good mentors who lift you and support you. Find good colleagues who do the same. Be bold and fearless -- do not let anyone else hold you back from what your ultimate goals and ambitions are! Never let someone tell you that you are "too ambitious."
3. What advice do you have for people afraid of public speaking?
Practice makes perfect! Try it and then try it again and again and again. I never imagined that I could be a District Attorney in court daily and conducting criminal trials. But, I did it by facing my fears and being prepared. One expert tip - try to have fun and always inject humor into everything you do. It will help calm you and find a common connection with your audience. One more expert tip - if you are nervous and it seems to show, let your audience know. They have been there and will empathize with you and root for you!
4. What fears did you have starting your own business?
Imposter Syndrome! Who did I think I was that I could go out on my own, without a single client and build a business and a brand? But, I did it, and did it with lots of hard work, networking, and never being afraid to ask for something you want. The worst that can happen is that you hear "No." Imposter Syndrome certainly creeps back in from time to time when I question my skills and ability to succeed, but I have great people around me who support me and help me push out the negativity and find my Super Woman!
5. What traits of your have been the most valuable in your career?
At certain jobs, the traits that have been most valuable to me in pursuing my own business were demeaned and critiqued. But, I have to say my tenacity. At times, I have been called a pitbull, a bulldog, or a tiger for my ability to fight for my clients and get what I think my clients deserve. I wear these descriptions like a badge of honor because it means that I never give up on what is right. That fight has been invaluable for my legal practice, especially during COVID, where I have had to pivot, pick up new areas of practice, be strategic and be flexible. So, my tenacity has served me well. Now, I prefer to be a LIONESS, my last name in Italian - tenacious but also compassionate and protective. Lawyers are not always taught a good bedside manner, but I ensure my clients are cared for and cared about.