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Boston lawyers launch all-female white-collar defense boutique

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BOSTON, MA — For some time, Tracy A. Miner and Megan Siddall had been kicking around the idea of an all-female firm focused on white-collar crimes and regulatory infractions.

Then an opportunity presented itself and they decided to seize it.

On Dec. 14, the pair announced the formation of Miner Siddall. The firm has the perfect acronym — “MS” — for what they say is Boston’s only all-women white-collar defense litigation boutique.

“Certainly, almost every firm has a ‘token’ woman on an executive board now because a lot of clients are demanding it,” Miner says. “But it’s one thing for one or two women to be on an executive board or chair a department; it’s another to have them be the majority [in terms of holding positions of power].”

According to Miner, clients are ahead of law firms when it comes to developing gender diversity at the top of their organizations.

“If you look at the percentages of women who are now in general counsel offices in corporations, they have outpaced the level of representation at law firms,” Miner says. “You see some really powerful women in [leadership] positions in corporations — much more so than you do at law firms.”

In that sense, Miner says the time is ripe for a firm like Miner Siddall.

“We are ahead of the big firms,” Miner says of MS, which includes an associate and expects to add more women lawyers as it gets off the ground. “We don’t have to find a woman to be on a case. We are all women. We don’t need to talk about what our percentages are.”

Miner envisions the firm becoming a model for women both in terms of working for themselves and mentoring other women.

“I believe that women are naturally better mentors,” Miner says. “I have two kids. We obviously do the child-bearing, and most of the child-rearing falls on us. So I think we’re naturally more empathetic, better listeners and good teachers.”

While she won’t go so far as to say that women are better connecting with juries, she does maintain that women are more likely to have certain people skills essential to being a good trial lawyer.

“Women relate to people and are really good listeners,” she says. “Although juries don’t speak in words until the end [of trial], they do speak in terms of body language and we notice more.”

In a practical sense, the unveiling of the firm is not a dramatic event. In 2019, Miner, Siddall and criminal defense attorney Seth B. Orkand formed Miner, Orkand, Siddall following their departure from Demeo in Boston.

Orkand recently decided to leave, presenting Miner and Siddall with the opportunity to rebrand the law office as an all-female firm.

According to Miner, MS is not the first attempt to establish an all-women white-collar defense practice in Boston. Before becoming a Superior Court judge, Christine M. Roach in 1989 founded Roach & Carpenter. Miner says Roach and another former assistant U.S. attorney, Paula DiGiacomo, were unable to succeed in developing a white-collar defense practice during the 1990s.

“Things didn’t work out for a couple of reasons,” Miner says. “One, I don’t think the world was ready for all-women firms. Two, it’s harder [to establish a defense practice] coming out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office because you don’t have a client base to start with and you don’t have a reputation on the defense side.”

That’s not an issue for Miner, who has more than 30 years of practice on her side.

“People know me,” she says. “The time is right.”

Prior to joining Demeo, Miner chaired the white-collar criminal defense practice at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo. A past president of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, her practice focuses on representing individuals and companies in state and federal criminal investigations.

In addition to criminal defense, Siddall has made her mark representing individuals in government enforcement actions and scientific research misconduct investigations, particularly with respect to the health care, pharmaceutical, financial services and construction industries.

“I have seen how valuable it is to learn from and work with a woman lawyer who is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with aggressive opposing counsel, but does it in her own way,” Siddall says in a statement. “We are focused on growing our firm and helping to shape the landscape for women in the legal profession.”

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