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Do It Afraid: Janet Ward Black On Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
Episode 923rd March 2023 • Voices of NCAJ • North Carolina Advocates for Justice
00:00:00 00:27:29

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In this NCAJ Legends interview, recorded during the NCAJ Convention 2022 as part of its 60th anniversary celebration, host Vernon Sumwalt interviews Janet Ward Black, NCAJ Past President of NCAJ and Principal Owner of Ward Black Law.

Janet Ward shares her journey to becoming a lawyer, explains how she overcame the challenges of being a female trial lawyer, and encourages others to pursue their goals even if they are afraid. She also emphasizes the importance of getting out of one's comfort zone and taking advantage of organizations like NCAJ to grow as a lawyer and leader.

🎙️ Featured Guest 🎙️

Name: Janet Ward Black

What she does: Janet Ward Black is the Principal Owner of Ward Black Law, one of the largest woman-owned firms in North Carolina. She’s also served as the third woman president of the NCAJ, the fourth woman president of the North Carolina Bar Association, and a past president of NCAJ. Over the past 10 years, Janet and her team have won settlements of more than $100 million for their clients.

Company: Ward Black Law

Words of wisdom: “A trial lawyer is someone who should be motivated by a sense of justice, of changing that which is wrong to that which is right.”

Connect: LinkedIn

💡 Episode Highlights 💡

[03:29] Changing aspirations: Janet Ward had aspired to become a doctor since she was four, but in college, she shifted her focus to the law because she didn’t want to help just one person at a time — she wanted to impact many lives at once.

[05:44] Gender disparities in law: Janet Ward discusses the challenges that women lawyers face and how the legal industry has diversified over time.

[11:18] Coping with imposter syndrome: Janet Ward acknowledges that even after decades in the field, it's difficult to know everything. She explains how her leadership roles, including within NCAJ, helped her overcome imposter syndrome.

[14:19] Building a better image: Trial lawyers have traditionally been perceived as antagonists, but in recent years, there has been a resurgence of respect for the profession.

[18:30] The essence of a trial lawyer: Janet Ward shares her journey to becoming a better trial lawyer and highlights the essential qualities of a successful trial lawyer.

[22:17] Mentoring the next generation: It is becoming increasingly difficult to get aspiring young lawyers into the courtroom. Janet Ward urges experienced lawyers to push them into these opportunities and impart the necessary skills.

[26:07] Do it afraid: Fear often prevents us from pursuing great opportunities. Janet Ward encourages people to push through their fears and "do it afraid" rather than limit themselves.

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Voices of NCAJ features intimate and inspiring conversations with organization members in celebration of its 60th anniversary.

Members of NCAJ belong to a nonprofit, nonpartisan association of legal professionals dedicated to empowering a strong community of trial lawyers to protect people, prevent injustice and promote fairness. Membership affords many benefits and we’re proud to offer discounts and opportunities thanks to our tremendous community of sponsors and partners. Join today!