Molly Buck Richard, President and founder of Richard Law Group
How long have you been working for your current company?
Since May of 2005.
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position.
I started practicing trademark law in 1981 with a boutique intellectual property firm in Dallas. I was the first female attorney that firm had ever hired and I became their first female partner in 1987. In 1990, I left to start the intellectual property section of Locke Purnell (now called Locke Lord) in Dallas and after working with a couple of other large law firms, I made the decision to start my own firm in 2005 focusing on trademark and copyright work.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
I have had a lot of proud professional moments, including serving as the President of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers when I was considerably younger, and as Chair of the Dallas Bar Association and State Bar Association Intellectual Property Sections. However, being named one of the top 50 female attorneys in Texas in 2008 affirmed all my hard work over the past 30 years.
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them?
The greatest challenge for me is to keep up with all of the new technology and aspects of trademark law around the world. I read constantly to try to keep up with this ever changing world we live in.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
When I was younger it was more difficult because I wasn’t able to spend the time that I wanted to with my child. I have found that it is always important to have interests outside of the workplace and to nurture those interests for a good work-life balance.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
I had several mentors and role models early on in my career. When I first started practicing law, I was mentored by two men who taught me the importance of putting a client’s interests first and foremost. I also met several influential women, including Harriet Miers, who taught me the importance of giving back to the bar association and to the community. This encouraged me to have leadership roles in the Dallas Bar Association and the Texas Bar Association, serving as chair of the IP section in both.
How effective do you think corporate diversity initiatives are? What methods do you think are most effective and why?
I think if they are done correctly they can be very effective. Recently I learned of one method where the in-house attorneys are rewarded with bonuses if they use a minimum percentage of their budget to work with firms that are minority or women-owned. I feel this is a very effective way of rewarding the individual within the corporation for pushing work to those firms.
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
I never felt that being a female was a disadvantage. I think being a female gives me an advantage in the sense that I can combine my intelligence and business sense with that innate women’s intuition that can come in very handy sometimes.
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
It appears that women are finally beginning to take true leadership roles in major law firms and corporate law groups, which previously has not been the case. I find this very encouraging for women in the law.
"Being a female gives me an advantage in the sense that I can combine my intelligence and business sense with that innate women’s intuition that can come in very handy sometimes."
Molly Buck Richard is a ranked lawyer in the Chambers USA Guide.