There and Back Again

There and Back Again

She turned into additionally almost 8 months pregnant. The then-junior associate at reed smith turned into protecting bell cellphone co. Of pennsylvania (now verizon) and six of its personnel in a in shape filed by using a former income govt who had been terminated for violating the business enterprise’s sexual harassment policy. “i’m waddling around the court,” munsch remembers, “however i used to be convinced that there was no way i was not going to try this case.” there was no way she wasn’t going to win, either. Most of the plaintiff’s claims were dismissed in summary judgment, and his wrongful dismissal allegation became declared a nonsuit via a commonplace pleas judge in downtown pittsburgh. Munsch become thrilled, but the girls jurors on the panel have been disenchanted when the judge ended the trial—they desired to look extra of munsch. For her oratorical skill and infectious power? Maybe. Munsch says they informed her they desired to see whilst she’d run out of maternity clothing. “they had been so fixated about what i used to be going to put on the following day,” she says. Munsch is sitting internal a light-stuffed convention room in the new 3 p. C plaza, searching weekend-casual in a cream-colored ralph lauren sweater, beige corduroy pants and brown oxfords. “there were few alternatives for professional maternity clothes in those days. I had a black jumper, a military blue jumper, a white maternity blouse and a military blue blazer. I used to be approximately to run out of clothing.” but her sartorial creativity wasn’t the most effective issue that captured the lady jurors’ attention. “while the plaintff’s lawyer opened to the jury, he turned into whining about having a chilly,” she says. “and right here i used to be obviously pregnant. They were inspired due to the fact i simply went approximately my job and in no way as soon as mentioned my condition.” that wasn’t the first time munsch, now 62, created a good affect. Whilst she joined reed smith in 1973, fresh out of yale law college, she changed into one among handiest 3 girls in what turned into then pittsburgh’s oldest and biggest law company. Ten years later, she have become the primary lady elected to partnership in the company’s pittsburgh workplace. A few years earlier, she’d received distinction as the first lady on the whole-time faculty of the university of pittsburgh school of law. And pity the opposing recommend, man or woman, who has confronted off towards munsch. At some stage in her 35-yr career, she has by no means misplaced a tribulation in federal or state court. In recent times, she handles all sorts of employment law topics, from recommend to litigation, with an emphasis on better training and nonprofit customers. For munsch, her fulfillment as a counselor is just as critical as her undefeated trial record. “every so often folks suppose, ‘oh, you’re simply an employment lawyer. You simply try and protect employers who're doing bad things,’” she says. “no. In my function as a counselor and adviser to employers in the course of my career, i’ve finished more to suggest employers on the compliance facet than any plaintiff’s legal professionals who win a lawsuit have ever done.” munsch’s daughter, katie, now 25, changed into born a month or so after the successful bell smartphone trial, and munsch returned to work two weeks later. 5 years earlier, she’d long past into exertions together with her firstborn, dan, at the same time as implementing a nationwide maternity agreement for westinghouse electric co. She turned into phoning clients and strolling off contractions in the corridor outdoor her workplace when a worried secretary called munsch’s husband, richard, then a legal professional at u. S. Metal corp., for an intervention. “there weren’t many women at massive regulation companies who went out and had toddlers and came returned and practiced and litigated,” munsch recalls. “i recollect saying to myself, ‘i don’t know if i will do this, so i’m simply going to take it at some point at a time.’” the philosophy has labored. “she’s in demand,” says james mercolini, deputy trendy suggest for carnegie mellon university, certainly one of munsch’s clients. “the university of pittsburgh, chatham, duquesne—all visit martha. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of employment and higher schooling law.” moreover, mercolini provides, “she is extraordinarily well-appeared through both the federal and kingdom benches, and he or she’s a tough, tough litigator. There are most effective a handful of lawyers who i’ve stumble upon in my existence who deliver me the extent of self assurance that i've in martha.” “martha’s distinguishing function is that she works harder than every person else,” says casey ryan, an employment and labor practice leader at reed smith. “she’s pure electricity.” “i can get her at her workplace at the least 18 hours an afternoon, pretty tons seven days a week, which, on this business, way a remarkable deal,” mercolini says. “carnegie mellon has operations around the globe, so we’re actually open for enterprise, somewhere, 24 hours a day.” and to think munsch carried out to law faculty on a whim. Munsch grew up in meyersdale, about 80 miles southeast of pittsburgh. “my father raised me to like sports activities,” she says. “i was certainly a tomboy. I wanted to play baseball and basketball with the lads.” the first member of her family to attend college, she went to the college of pittsburgh, wherein she majored in english and knocked down the primary of many gender obstacles she might come upon. Whilst she applied for a activity as a sportswriter at the pitt information, the editors instructed her, “women aren’t allowed to jot down sports. Choose elsewhere.” by way of her senior yr, however, she turned into the paper’s sports editor. Munsch had planned to visit graduate college for journalism and become a sportswriter. But while she scored higher at the lsat than the gre, she applied to yale on a whim. “i without a doubt did assume, ‘properly, i’ll go to yale law school and then i’ll be able to get a process as a sportswriter,’” she says. However reed smith, in which she’d worked as a summer time accomplice all through regulation college, employed her whilst she graduated. Even though she become inquisitive about civil method, she hadn’t settled on a exercise place. She’d worked for the duration of law school as a research assistant for criminal student james william moore, writer of the multivolume moore’s federal practice. Some years into her stint on the regulation company, a phone call from a colleague modified the course of her profession. “i’m and a 1/2 years out of law school and they wanted me to train?” she recollects. “properly, your eyes sparkle at that.” in 1975, munsch left reed smith for the university of pittsburgh faculty of law, where she became asked to teach civil technique and employment discrimination, then an area of law so new it wasn’t but taught at many regulation faculties. Elegance movement fits based on identify vii of the civil rights act of 1964 were arising all over the united states of america and felony interpretations had been coming at a quick tempo. Teaching employment discrimination allowed munsch to immerse herself inside the new regulation’s nuances, so that once she left the position to return to reed smith almost 3 years later, eager to practice law once more, she was greater familiar with the title vii-related statutes than the firm’s veteran hard work attorneys. “i didn’t leave reed smith as a labor attorney, but i went again understanding i desired to be an employment lawyer. It become a brand new area of the regulation where i felt i may be a top notch contributor.” teaching additionally boosted her self-self belief. “i had more resistance from the student frame in my civil system elegance than i ever skilled working towards law in a large law firm,” she says. “in truth, after elegance the women might warn me approximately the tricks that the men have been going to play on me. The men felt cheated because they had to take a class taught with the aid of a younger female.” however the nicely-prepared, tenacious munsch gained over her as soon as-skeptical male students. At the end of the year she acquired a golden apple award. Similarly to her lengthy workdays, munsch has a decades-lengthy file of nonprofit community carrier, such as serving on the board for the children’s health center of pittsburgh and two stints at the university of pittsburgh’s board of trustees. She’s also been supportive of women’s basketball, having mounted the martha hartle munsch endowed women’s basketball scholarship. While agnus berenato first stepped into the office after becoming pitt’s women’s head instruct in 2003, she dialed up munsch, wanting to satisfy the person that supported the ladies’s group. They’ve been right friends ever when you consider that, and munsch travels with the team once a year on an away game. “agnus makes it a factor to include me in the huddle,” she says. “it’s my favored weekend of the 12 months.” in 1977, munsch logged every other profession “first”: she became the first lady appointed to the board of aaa east central inc. Richard hamilton, chairman of the board of aaa east crucial and its former president and ceo for two decades, says, “we by no means were given involved in any court cases, and i would post to you that that’s because of martha’s prowess.” munsch’s best legacy can be the way she inspires and motivates the folks who move her direction. “a few humans are a success in a single dimension of their lifestyles. Martha strikes me as a person who has accomplished the enviable intention of being a success in all phases of her lifestyles,” says reed’s ryan. “in every phase, from a to z, she excels.” however fulfillment doesn’t come clean. “i’m no longer a seat-of-your-pants individual. I put together, prepare, prepare. I nonetheless sometimes wake up having a nightmare that i’m sitting in my 8th grade algebra class, and wherein the trainer is giving a take a look at that i didn’t recognise about,” she says, giggling. “my motto has continually been to outwork the alternative guy.”