Teresa A. Woody, a solo attorney in Kansas City, successfully takes on such complex litigation as environmental and toxic tort cases, even when they pit her against large law firms with vast resources. She’s also played numerous roles in helping to promote women within the profession, particularly on the bench. Among other things, she serves on the 16th Circuit Judicial Commission, which selects candidates for vacancies on the Jackson County Circuit Court.
What are some of your proudest career accomplishments? I have been very proud to follow in the footsteps of some remarkable women lawyers who mentored me, such as Sandy Schermerhorn, who was a great role model and showed great patience in showing me the ropes” at a “bigfirm.” I am happy to have continued the “trail blazing” in my own small way, such as serving as the chair of litigation at my former firm, and opening and surviving in my own firm. One of the biggest challenges of my practice is balancing a full time litigation practice with being an involved parent. Fortunately, improved technology, a husband who shares
those same priorities, flexible co-workers, and a sense of humor make it possible. One of the nicest compliments I have ever had came from the mother of one of my mentees in the Association for Women Lawyers’ Connections program, who thanked me and
said that I was the first person who had ever made her daughter, a young lawyer, believe that being a lawyer and having children could be fun.
What inspired you to get involved in the justice system? I was always interested in social justice issues, but I think the thing that inspired me to become a lawyer was seeing my husband, Rik Siro, as he started his legal career. His dedication to individuals and reverence for the justice system gave me a great template to follow. The thing I enjoy most about my practice is representing individuals and small businesses, and the hope and often surprise they feel when they believe someone is really on their side.
What is something that would surprise people about you? One thing that might surprise people about me is that I love to cook and entertain, and I aspire to garden, although my attempts in that realm are largely wishful and imaginary. I find those things to be constructive antidotes to a sometimes stressful profession.