BBA Spotlight Series - Get to Know Boston's Rising Stars

Julie M. Muller

Over the next several weeks, we're spotlighting rising stars in Boston law to highlight the work they do, how their industry and practice area has been impacted by the pandemic, and the people and moments that have shaped their legal careers thus far. We caught up with Conn Kavanaugh Associate, Julie Muller, to hear more about her work as a Litigation Attorney and passion for advocating for domestic abuse survivors through her active pro bono practice.

Julie M. Muller's head shot

What inspired you to become a lawyer? Specifically, with your focus in litigation?

From a young age, I was always most comfortable advocating for someone, whether that be my more reserved family members or an individual who was treated unfairly. The legal profession was a natural choice for someone at home when advocating on behalf of others. My competitive nature is what drew me into the litigation field. As a long-time athlete, I find a lot of parallels between my time on the soccer field and my litigation practice. Both require dedication, perseverance, preparation, and a sense of humor. My comfort in an advocacy role and my competitive nature made litigation the obvious choice.

Tell us a bit more about how your practice area or industry has been impacted by the pandemic and how attorneys are responding to these challenges?

The major impact on the litigation field was the transition to remote court proceedings, alternative dispute proceedings, mediations, and depositions. Before the pandemic, remote based legal work was contemplated only in very unique scenarios. Now, it has been the “new normal” for over a year. I think the legal community showed its adaptability and its willingness to think outside the box to get the job done.

I had the privilege to second chair a trial in Middlesex Superior Court in March, 2021. I did not know what to expect as we were only the second jury trial in the Middlesex Superior Courthouse since the beginning of the pandemic. It was certainly different than trying a case pre-pandemic. For instance, we had to consider the use of Zoom for a testifying witness and had to make sure each juror had his or her own exhibit binder. The trial ran smoothly all thanks to the commitment of the judge, court staff, counsel and jury members.

How has the Boston legal market changed in recent years? How are you navigating these changes?

Since I joined the legal profession, and now with a year of remote work under our belts, there is a focus on flexibility in the workplace and how to best serve employees, particularly those with responsibilities outside the workplace. I think it is an important conversation and I’m interested to see how the legal community works to implement the Supreme Judicial Court’s recommendations.

What advice would you give to new lawyers entering the profession?

Say yes to as many opportunities that come your way. It is very easy to back away from an opportunity because you feel that you do not have the requisite experience you think you need to succeed. I’ve found that the best way to learn is by doing. Is it a scary way to learn? Absolutely, but after you get through it, you’ll be that much better for it.

According to your bio, you maintain an active pro bono practice, representing survivors of domestic violence in family law matters and 209A orders. Can you tell us what drew you to this specific pro bono practice and why it is important to you?

I started working with domestic violence survivors in law school at the Suffolk Law School’s Family Advocacy Clinic. I was astounded by the stories of our clients and the strength they showed despite awful, and often traumatic, circumstances. Their strength is what motivates me to be the best advocate I can for them and to continue showing up for survivors. Domestic violence is an all too common occurrence in our society and the legal system is just one avenue to serve domestic violence survivors. Today, I represent domestic violence survivors in 209A cases and family law matters through the Women’s Bar Foundation’s Family Law Project and Victim Rights Law Center, both incredible organizations with passionate attorneys. Assisting survivors through the legal process is the best way I thought I could serve.

In addition to my pro bono work, I also serve on a committee through the Women’s Bar Association with an enthusiastic group of women seeking to pass legislation to provide employment protections to domestic violence survivors. Employment stability is key for survivors of domestic violence and this proposed legislation will provide important protections to achieve this stability.