News | March 3, 2022

In her own voice: Attorneys reflect on women’s impact in the legal field

SELC’s female attorneys are respected for their deep understanding of the places, politics, and culture of the South. These women choose to champion our beautiful, complex region because they live here and love it dearly.

A few of the women who participated in SELC’s International Women’s Day webinar March 8 have offered their insights on what it means to be a woman in the field of environmental law and advice for those breaking into it. To watch a recording of the program, click here.

Ramona McGee

Senior Attorney Ramona McGee leads SELC’s Wildlife Initiative from Chapel Hill.

Leader of SELC’s Wildlife Initiative

“Don’t forget to advocate for yourself even as you’re busy advocating for others.”

Ramona says International Women’s Day is about celebrating the shared experiences of women across the world, as well as honoring our differences. “It’s about recognizing the joys and the challenges of being a woman,” she adds.

Her advice? “Find a mentor and be a mentor! I have been lucky to have had several fantastic mentors throughout my life who both support and inspire me. I also have learned so much from being a mentor to others.”

SELC Board Member Laura Fjeld once served as Vice President and General Counsel of The University of North Carolina System.

Laura Fjeld

Attorney and SELC Board Member

“Every day is Women’s Day in my book…We’ve made a lot of progress making the world better, and heaven knows we can’t stop now.”

Laura says more women lawyers, judges, policy makers, CEOS, and clients all contribute to moving the needle in the right direction when it comes to addressing the environment and the impacts of climate change.

“We care deeply about the future of our home, our precious planet. You’ve got to be tough, and the rewards are worth it.”

Leader of SELC’s Environmental Justice Initiative, Senior Attorney Chandra Taylor-Sawyer on what drives her work to ensure a healthy environment for all.

Kelly Moser

Kelly Moser leads SELC’s Clean Water Defense Initiative from Chapel Hill.

Leader of SELC’s Clean Water Defense Initiative

“International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate how much women contribute to making the world a better place. I watch my colleagues working hard to achieve a healthy environment for all, while caring for children, aging parents, or both. My colleagues have superpowers, and they inspire me.”

Kelly advises that women breaking into the field be generous and fair, lift others up, and don’t let competition in the field of law outweigh compassion.

“Practice law and lead with your own style. Let the unique, amazing qualities only you can bring add value to the workplace.”

Sierra Weaver

Sierra Weaver leads SELC’s Coast and Wetlands Program from Charleston.

Leader of SELC’s Coast and Wetlands Program

“In so many ways, women are often leaders in the fight to improve how we treat each other and the world, whether it’s in healthcare, education, or the environment — because those are issues that affect us personally. It’s great to be reminded of the larger context in which the women of SELC sit, and how our fight to protect the environment of the Southeast is part of that broader movement around the world.”

At SELC, Sierra says environmental law is more than a profession, it’s a passion—and she encourages others to “follow your heart and do what fires you up.”

Mary Maclean Asbill

Mary Maclean Asbill is the director of SELC’s Chapel Hill and Asheville offices.

Director, SELC’s North Carolina Offices

“I am so proud to work with so many women lawyers working hard to ensure that all citizens can have clean water and clean air and fighting to protect this Earth from climate change so future generations can thrive.”

Mary Maclean says her advice is to keep speaking up on behalf of yourself and all those you represent. Be passionate, be professional, and be fair.

“I am excited because having more women lawyers who focus on protecting our environment means that we will ultimately have more women judges, agency heads, and elected officials who place a priority on our air and water.”