Publication Details

The Recorder Names Carolina Bravo-Karimi a Finalist in the 2022 Mentorship Award Category

Sep 9, 2022

WTK Managing Partner Carolina Bravo-Karimi has been named a finalist in the "Mentorship Award" category as part of the California Legal Awards put on by The Recorder.

The awards program celebrates the achievements of lawyers and companies leading technology, innovation, and the profession as a whole.

“YOU belong here. YOU deserve to be here.”

These are the words Jenny Solano has heard Carolina Bravo-Karimi say time and again. In one way or another, through words or actions, Carolina has reaffirmed that Jenny is not only seen, and celebrated, for who she is, but is also welcome and wholly appreciated for it.

For Jenny, a rising attorney at Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP, Carolina’s mentorship has been life altering.

Carolina, the managing partner of WTK, a.k.a., one of the largest women-owned (and one of the most diverse) law firms in Southern California, is an action-oriented advocate, long dedicated to mentoring historically excluded students and attorneys. Her advice to them: “Be unapologetically and authentically you.”

That’s the greatest piece of advice Carolina ever received, arriving at the moment when she needed to hear it most. Talking life, law and their experiences in the legal profession with four accomplished Latina attorneys over cafecitos, Carolina asked for advice. What she heard was unexpected and transforming.

Unapologetic. Authentic. These words took hold.

These cafecito chats became about more. These women became dear friends. These words became her mantra, helping her embrace her authentic self—an identity largely shaped by the intersectionality of her gender and multicultural (Chilean and Iranian) and multilingual upbringing.

“The reason I have so often felt different is because I am different, and that means my authentic self will be different. Watching these women, mis amigas, be unapologetically themselves, made me truly believe that was okay,” Carolina recently wrote of her mentor-like friendships and lessons in authenticity.

“I own the fact that I have a conciliatory and non-aggressive litigation style,” she wrote. “I proudly pronounce my name correctly. I point out the value of my multicultural upbringing and contribution to diversity of thought. I readily call out and interrupt biases and microaggressions. I eagerly befriend, mentor and sponsor young law students and attorneys of color. And all because these things make up who I am – they are me, unapologetically and authentically me.”

It’s this wisdom she’s since shared through her leadership with the University of San Diego’s School of Law’s Alumni Board and Executive Moot Court Board, National Institute of Trial Attorneys and Just the Beginning, a summer legal program for high school students.

For Jenny, a first-generation, queer, gender-nonconforming Latinx attorney, Carolina’s advice, to be authentically and unapologetically herself, has been liberating. From wearing suits in the office and court to branching out into different areas of law, Jenny has embraced her authentic self, unapologetically.

Jenny first met Carolina through the firm’s participation in the San Diego County Bar Association and Association of Corporate Counsel’s San Diego Diversity Fellowship Program. Then a first-year student at California Western School of Law, Jenny had matched with WTK. 

Jenny instantly felt at home. The firm, and its leaders, clearly, and markedly, valued diversity.

“Diversity isn’t simply a check box at WTK,” Jenny says. “We are immersed in a culture of diversity.”

This is reflected in WTK’s makeup: over 60% of partners are women; nearly 80% of attorneys are women; 45% are minorities; and greater than 80% of all firm personnel are either women or minorities. Diversity isn’t simply about numbers to Carolina. It’s about authenticity. Unapologetic authenticity.

“Our firm was built upon the DE&I concept because it was built by people, women predominantly, who wanted to integrate their outside lives with their professional lives,” Carolina said. “That, in and of itself, is what diversity and inclusion is all about. It’s the idea that we show up to work as full and complete individuals and want our workplaces to recognize the full extent of who we are and what our identity is.”

For Jenny, and so many others, that’s the culture Carolina cultivates. 

Jenny and Carolina stayed in touch. Carolina provided guidance on internships and classes, encouraged Jenny to get more involved, introduced her to colleagues and participated in a Latinx student association panel Jenny had planned. Jenny would return to WTK for an internship and later a job offer. Historically, WTK doesn’t hire right out of law school but, with Carolina’s guidance, Jenny worked closely with a lot of firm partners—securing an offer to join its growing Employment Law practice group in late 2021.

Quickly, she expanded her practice beyond labor and employment law.

With Carolina’s encouragement, Jenny is now working on class action cases and has joined the firm’s workplace investigations team. What’s more: Jenny is utilizing her bilingual, first-generation American upbringing to help WTK establish its Business Immigration practice group.

“As an associate, the goal is for you to learn as much as you can,” Jenny said. “Here, I am not a machine producing work. I am a human. I am encouraged to be myself, to know my value and my identity.”

Winners will be announced at the California Legal Awards ceremony on Nov. 3 in San Francisco.

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