Celebrating A Milestone: Janani S. Rana Becomes the First Female Partner at Minyard Morris
Minyard Morris, the largest family law firm in Orange County, has named Janani S. Rana as a partner. She is the firm’s first female partner, marking a significant stride in the firm’s history. This achievement celebrates her exceptional legal acumen and represents a progressive step toward greater diversity in leadership within the legal community.
In this article, we share insights directly from Janani S. Rana and Mark E. Minyard, exploring Janani’s journey to partnership, her impact on the firm, and what this means for the future of Minyard Morris.
Janani’s Journey to Partnership
Question: Can you share your journey within Minyard Morris that led to this partnership? How has your previous experience shaped your approach to family law?
Janani S. Rana: “I joined Minyard Morris in 2016. I had just moved to Orange County from Los Angeles, where I had practiced family law for about 7 years. I had passed the family law specialist examination, but required additional trial experience to be formally certified as a family law specialist by the State Bar. Immediately, Mark took it upon himself to help me get the trials I needed. I was certified as a family law specialist within a year.
Over the past seven years, I have been consistently impressed by the firm’s unwavering commitment to education and mentorship. Mark and Michael (Morris) have a genuine passion for helping young lawyers succeed for decades; to do that, they have built a firm with systems and processes that work. My choice to lean into those systems and align myself with the firm’s goals has been immensely rewarding. I have had unfettered access to legal seminars, trial skill programs, and professional coaching. Whatever you ask for at this firm, you will get. I am a far better lawyer and professional because of the Minyard Morris philosophy, and I am committed to maintaining the firm’s standards for excellence.”
Impact on Firm Culture
Question: How do you believe Janani’s partnership will impact the team dynamics and work culture at Minyard Morris? Can you describe the collaborative approach the firm takes in handling complex family law cases?
Mark E. Minyard: “Janani has an ownership mentality. She is interested in helping improve every aspect of the firm to benefit our clients and our people. Her motivation will translate into others developing that same mentality.
A client does not hire one lawyer at Minyard Morris; they retain the firm itself. Our partners have an open-door policy for all associates. Of great significance is the fact that we meet three times each week, Monday night, Tuesday at noon, and Thursday at noon, to brainstorm our firm’s pending cases and their complexities. Having lawyers from different legal backgrounds, experience levels, and perspectives brings a wealth of knowledge and creativity to the table in developing creative and thoughtful solutions to satisfy clients’ objectives.”
Mark’s Perspective on Janani’s Role
Question: What qualities of Janani stood out to you, making her a suitable candidate for partnership? How do you see Janani’s partnership influencing the firm’s future direction?
Mark E. Minyard: “Janani’s performance in the last several years is a model for associates who seek to be partners. She actively mentored other lawyers, brought creative ideas to the table, organized a Saturday food bank event with huge firm-wide participation, was efficient and productive, originated a significant amount of new client business, and, in essence, performed as a partner.”
Professional Achievements and Challenges
Question: What are some of the key cases or projects you’ve worked on that you believe contributed to your promotion? What challenges have you faced in your career, and how have they prepared you for this role?
Janani S. Rana: “The path to partnership at Minyard Morris is typical in many ways – a lawyer must have a superior level of family law knowledge, trial skills, and ability to generate revenue – but there is also the “X factor.” The personality trait I really focused on to make partner was my genuine love for connecting with people. I focused that passion on two things: one, developing relationships within the community to enhance the firm’s and my reputation, and two, mentoring our newer associates.
As for challenges, the greatest one, of course, has been managing the guilt that comes with being away from my husband and children so many weeknights and weekends. I remind myself that the sacrifices I am making are for a career I am incredibly passionate about, clients I genuinely like and believe in, and, most importantly, a better and more comfortable future for my children. I also work hard to maintain solid lines of communication with my husband so that the many logistical challenges of caring for two small children with different needs are manageable. For now, instead of work-life balance, I strive for daily moments of joy, happy clients, and well-cared-for children. As with my cases, I have created systems and processes to make sure that my household runs as smoothly as possible. The simple reality is that I could not have made partner without the support of my husband, his parents, and our incredible nanny.”
The Firm’s Evolving Landscape
Question: How does Janani’s partnership reflect the evolving landscape of the legal profession and family law specifically? What changes or trends in family law do you anticipate in the coming years?
Mark E. Minyard: “We see further consolidation in family law. It continues to be more and more challenging for smaller firms to compete with firms who have more bandwidth and greater resources to bring to bear when necessary on more complex cases or in client emergencies.”
Vision and Future Goals
Question: As a new partner, what are your immediate goals for the firm? How do you plan to contribute to the firm’s reputation and client service?
Janani S. Rana: “Presently, our most pressing need is for additional lawyers who are equally excited to contribute to the firm’s growth. We need lawyers at all levels of not just experience, but desire for courtroom interaction. We also need more paralegals. Each month, we turn away many prospective clients – if we cannot handle the case on a timely basis, we do not accept it. I would love to help more people access the benefit of working with our highly trained family law attorneys. I hope, therefore, to fine-tune the already incredible systems we have in place for training and mentoring young associates so that we can attract new talent. I genuinely believe that other lawyers will want to join us when they hear about how we make the practice of family law fun and rewarding.”
The Firm’s Perspective on Diversity
Question: Could you share your thoughts on having the first female partner at Minyard Morris and the firm’s approach to diversity and inclusion?
Mark E. Minyard: “We seek to hire the highest quality lawyers who will ensure our team’s future success. In pursuing that goal, the result was an incredibly diverse group of lawyers, which is a win for the firm, our lawyers, and our clients. We aim to hire lawyers who can bring value to the firm based on all issues, including their heritage. Diversity is an essential asset of Minyard Morris.”
Vision for Future Leadership
Question: As a trailblazer, what changes or initiatives, if any, would you like to introduce or strengthen within the firm to support women in law?
Janani S. Rana: “I hope to continue mentoring our excellent female attorneys, empowering them to network and generate business more strategically and confidently. As a mother of two young children, one of whom has significant special needs, I hope the lessons I have learned will serve as a resource for our young female lawyers who are considering the path to partnership. The reality is that women who can figure out how to make it work do not have to give up personal passions or having a family in order to make partner. I also hope to increase our firm’s support of the incredibly impactful Orange County Women Lawyers Association, for which I serve on the Board of Directors.”
Advice for Aspiring Lawyers
Question: What advice would you give to young lawyers aiming for a partnership role?
Mark E. Minyard: “The most straightforward advice I can offer an associate is the often-said (but so-true) statement: “You won’t become a partner until you act like one.” You will, most likely, not become a partner unless you are so passionate about your career that you consider it something other than traditional “work.”
There is a price to be paid to become a partner that most people do not want to pay. If work-life balance is your objective, then it may not make sense to strive for partnership. Becoming a partner should not be the goal of every lawyer. Figure out what you want out of life, what you enjoy, and live ‘your’ life, not the life someone else is dictating to you.”
Advice for Aspiring Women Lawyers:
Question: What advice would you give to women in law aspiring to leadership positions?
Janani S. Rana: “First and foremost, start writing down your annual goals. I am a big believer in SMART goals. If you do not physically write down a goal with specific, measurable metrics and a plan for accomplishing that goal, you are unlikely to achieve it. You should also consider the “why” for each of your goals. If you are passionate about your goals, you are more likely to achieve them. Candid, ongoing evaluation of why you are (or are not) meeting those goals is also essential. Five years ago, Mark encouraged me to start writing down my personal and professional goals. I took it one step further and asked him to meet with me quarterly to review my progress. In typical Mark fashion, he was always so excited about these meetings and spent as much time preparing for them as I did. This leads me to the second thing you need to do – find someone who is as excited about your success as you are. Everyone needs a sponsor, not just a mentor. A sponsor does more than give advice – he/she makes the introductions, gets you a better view of the table if not a seat, and makes sure you are spoken about when you are not in the room. Speak candidly with your sponsor about specific steps to advance your career to the next level. Finally, if you don’t see it, be it. I did not see someone who looked like me (young mom of two children) in my firm’s leadership. So, I became it. A similar saying I hear often is, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If you want to be a partner at a firm or a woman in leadership, act the part. Speak with other women who have the job you want to have. Ask them if they will share lessons learned from the path they traveled. Most women who have advanced in their careers will tell you that it is not going to be easy, and that you may need to get creative, but if you are determined to succeed, you can make it happen. Most things worth having don’t come easily. ”
Stay Informed: Follow The Minyard Morris Journey in Law
As we reflect on Janani S. Rana’s inspiring journey and her groundbreaking achievement at Minyard Morris, it’s clear that her story is more than an individual success. It’s a narrative that underscores the evolving nature of the legal profession, highlighting the increasing importance of diversity, mentorship, and innovative leadership.
Janani’s rise to partnership at Minyard Morris serves as an inspiration for aspiring legal professionals, offering a vivid example of how dedication, expertise, and a genuine passion for the profession can pave the way for new heights in one’s career. Her commitment to shaping a more inclusive and dynamic future for the legal industry serves as an inspiration to lawyers everywhere.
We extend our sincere congratulations to Janani Rana on her well-deserved success and look forward to witnessing the continued impact of her work and leadership at Minyard Morris.