Attorney Spotlight: Maria Jose Cortesi

What inspired you to pursue a law career?

I’ve been an avid reader my entire life, and I also like to think that I am creative. For me, a legal career just made sense, since a lot of what we do as lawyers is craft creative solutions for our clients, both based on prior precedent, or where relevant, by advocating for a change in the legal landscape. I liked the structure that laws bring to society, and I knew I would be challenged intellectually in my day-to-day. 

Why did you choose the areas of law that you practice?

I was drawn to my areas of practice because of the complexity and novelty of the issues we encounter. No two cases are the same, and that results in exposure to different jurisdictions, legal systems and people that allow me to learn new things every day. 

What skills do you draw upon when it comes to your specific practice areas?

The first that come to mind are critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills. We are often navigating uncharted waters, and that requires out-of-the box thinking to figure out how to address the issues we are presented. Communication is also a skill that I use every single day—we regularly work with lawyers in different jurisdictions as part of a robust cross-border legal team to handle matters, and coordinating efforts to achieve the best results is critical. 

What is the most rewarding part about your job?

I think the most rewarding part of my job is knowing I am solving a problem for someone who may have thought the problem was insurmountable. It is also extremely rewarding, professionally, to be part of a team that is constantly at the forefront of legal developments, and to get to work and learn from attorneys who are the best in their fields.

Tell us about a mentor who made an impact on your career.

Before and during law school, I worked for an estate planning and probate lawyer, Tania. As her legal assistant, I worked closely with her and she taught me to take pride in my work product, even when I doubted myself sometimes. I took that into my time in law school, and now as an attorney.

If you weren’t practicing law, what would you be doing?

If I was not practicing law, I would be running an event planning company. I love putting together and hosting events where my guests enjoy themselves and walk away with good memories that they remember fondly.

What might people be surprised to learn about you?

I think it may surprise people that I have read the Harry Potter series in its entirety 4 times! There’s something so wonderful about being lost in a book, and Harry Potter will always have a spot in my heart for being the first series to do that for me.

What is a good book or article you read recently?

I recently read Atomic Habits by James Clear, which really has helped me shift my mindset about doing things that may seem “insignificant” or “not a big deal” and be more conscious about my actions.

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