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Leander Dolphin, Top 25 Women in Business 2022 Honoree

Leander Dolphin Employer: Shipman & Goodwin LLP Title: Managing Partner Check out all of the WIB honorees here!
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Leander Dolphin leads one of Connecticut’s largest and oldest law firms. A member of the school law practice, Dolphin advises educational institutions and businesses in a variety of matters, including employment, student matters, crisis management and litigation.

A 1999 high honors graduate of Wesleyan University with majors in English, African American Studies and Women’s Studies, Dolphin graduated from Howard University Law School in 2004. Joining Shipman as an associate, she has built a dynamic education and employment practice, becoming partner in 2015, and managing partner in 2022.

Q: What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

Becoming managing partner of Shipman is my biggest professional accomplishment so far. That my partners trust me — and my vision — is the greatest professional honor.

Q: What’s the next big goal you want to accomplish professionally?

My goal is to be a compassionate leader; this is essential for leading our firm in a forever changed world. My next big professional goal is to promote our employees’ connectivity in the community with each other and the firm, as well as their sense of well-being in uncertain times.

Q: What’s one of the biggest professional challenges you’ve overcome?

As a Black woman attorney, and now managing partner, I was (and still am), often the only person who looks like me in most spaces. Being the ‘first’ or ‘only’ brings both challenges and opportunities; I have learned to turn challenges into opportunities and show up as my full self.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic forced you to adapt as a leader?

I believed that connection and culture required a heavy in-person presence. The pandemic has forced me to adjust how I think about culture and building or maintaining meaningful relationships.

Q: Who has been your most important mentor and why?

It’s difficult to pick just one, but Anne Littlefield, general counsel at Shipman, helped me create a roadmap for acquiring the substantive knowledge and experiences I needed, and provided many opportunities for me to add value.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

I love to travel. While traveling, I make a point of chasing and photographing both sunsets and sunrises.

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