Five years ago, while still in law school at the University of Washington, Marissa Olsson interned at a small, Seattle-based maritime law firm. She earned a full-time job by making herself indispensable to the firm's three attorneys. Today, she helps fishermen, ferry workers, and others sue their employers when they've been injured at work. These maritime workers sue under the Jones Act, a federal statute that allows those injuried "in service of the vessel" to sue for negligence.
Although her confidence and skills have grown noticeably, she routinely faces opposing counsel who treat her differently because she's a woman. "It seemed to me like it was a battle that had already been won." Her new outlook followed becoming a lawyer. "I wasn't doing anything where I stepped outside of expectations for a 20-something female. But once I became a lawyer, I joined an old boy's club." Despite these frustrations, Marissa uses them as motivation to maximize client recovery and to make positive changes in the legal profession.
Marissa's maritime practice is similar to other personal injury work. She must assess the value of potential cases to decide whether to invest her time and resources because her compensation is tied to recovery. She avoids filing suit when possible, but sometimes it's an essential step to making her clients whole.
This episode is hosted by Keith Lee, an Alabama attorney and author.