As a child, Jane Warren, a partner with the law firm McCarter & English LLP, pictured herself as a lawyer.
“I was argumentative enough, and dreamed about days spent in court, winning over juries,” she recalled.
Coming from a family in real estate, in 1986 she joined Cummings & Lockwood as a real estate attorney.
“The practice of environmental law was beginning, and I was the youngest one at the firm. Three days into my job, I was switched to be trained in environmental law, and I never looked back,” she said, though she jokes that it left her at odds with her family.
“Real estate brokers don’t like lawyers,” she laughs, calling herself an “outcast” among her family. But overcoming negative stereotypes of all kinds has been key to her success.
“Nobody wants to see an environmental lawyer coming … it means there are challenging issues ahead,” she admits. “I learned early not to just tell the client ‘no.’ Their situation may be tough, but my job is to figure out a way to accomplish their goals.”
One example of her tenacity is with the town of Greenwich, a longtime client. “Recently, PCBs were found in the soil at the high school. Instead of spending the town’s money on litigation, we worked toward a solution where money is going toward a major cleanup effort that will address the needs of all parties involved,” she said.
Through her involvement with The Junior League of Hartford, Warren was introduced to Rebuilding Together, which renovates homes for those in need. Along with some of her colleagues, Warren and her family don their work clothes to participate in the annual Rebuilding Day – a one-day home renovation blitz.
Helping other women succeed in law and business is another priority.
“When I was growing up, I watched my mother struggle in a man’s world. I feel compelled to … help other women succeed,” she said.
Warren credits her family and support system for helping her along the way.
“My husband is a builder, and was able to be flexible, especially when the kids were little. Excellent child care is critical for young mothers – you can’t succeed in anything if you’re worrying about your kids. And I don’t think I’d know what day of the week it is without my secretary, who is like family,” she said.