Parks met Taylor when she was assigned to Taylor’s team for a pro bono project. She remembers Taylor as someone who took great care to ensure that summers were substantively involved in firm matters. “At the time, she was a young partner with two children of her own, which clearly made her life very busy, but she put in so much effort to connect with summers and junior associates and still continues to do so,” Parks explained. “She lifted me up and made me feel important.”
Since then, Parks has routinely turned to Taylor for guidance on issues large and small. When Parks was feeling burned out after the COVID-19 pandemic and considered taking time off, she asked Taylor about O’Melveny’s sabbatical program. “She was very supportive,” Parks said. “So I took three months off and came back to my work totally refreshed, with a renewed excitement for the work I do.”
Taylor also advises Parks on potential client development opportunities. Once, while attending a conference for corporate finance lawyers together, Parks told Taylor about a startup she’d been connected with that was seeking financing. “She said, ‘Let’s set up calls with the venture-focused banks we work with regularly as well as some firm alumni who might be good advisors,’” Parks said. “Her suggestions ultimately helped me get that company on board as a prospective client.”
For the past two years, Parks has volunteered for O’Melveny’s New Associate Mentorship Program (NAMP), which pairs first-year lawyers with a dedicated mentor. Every month, she collects feedback from other lawyers at the firm and passes it on to her mentee. These regular reviews ensure that young lawyers are able to effectively manage their workloads and remain on track to achieve their goals. She has also worked with the UC Law SF (formerly UC Hastings) Women’s Law Society for the past four years as an alumni mentor, mentoring 1L and 2L law students as they navigate law schools and the recruiting process.
Parks treats her responsibility as a mentor with the same gravity she observed in Taylor. “I want younger lawyers to know they can come to me with virtually anything, whether it’s a thorny legal problem or a question about how something in the kitchen works,” she said. Parks is intentional about sharing her own emotions about work—whether positive or negative—with younger colleagues, too. “I try to show them that it’s okay to have feelings and express them in a productive way so you can move forward.”
Although mentorship has required a significant contribution of time and energy from Parks, she sees it as a way to reinvest the support that’s helped her build a successful career. “I hope junior associates look up to me the same way I still look up to Jennifer and my other mentors,” she said. “O’Melveny is a special place because of the connections we’re able to make with our colleagues, and I’ve tried to do my part to uphold that.”