On this episode of Women @ RopesTalk, hosted by IP transactions partner Megan Baca, litigation & enforcement partner Amy Jane Longo interviews Jennifer Chun Barry, associate general counsel in special investigations at Meta. With experience as a federal prosecutor, an SEC trial attorney and an in-house lawyer at a global tech company, Jennifer has had a varied and interesting legal career, and she opens up about her different steps along the way. She shares what initially drew her to trial work and what she’s still learning about building professional relationships today at Meta. Jennifer also talks about how her parents’ journey as immigrants has shaped her approach to life and work.
Megan Baca: Welcome, and thank you for joining us on our latest installment of Women @ RopesTalk, a podcast series brought to you by the Women’s Forum at Ropes & Gray. In this podcast, we spotlight extraordinary women who have had successful careers and interesting lives, and are also making a positive impact in their workplaces and in their communities. We feature women attorneys at Ropes & Gray in conversation with prominent women clients, industry leaders, entrepreneurs and others, about their careers and what’s led to their successes, the challenges they’ve faced, and the hard-earned wisdom they’ve acquired. I’m Megan Baca, a partner at Ropes & Gray with a practice focusing on intellectual property and technology transactions, and I’m also co-head of the firm’s digital health initiative. I’m based in Silicon Valley. On this episode, I’m joined by my West Coast colleague, Amy Jane Longo, who’s based in Los Angeles. Amy, to get things started today, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself to our listeners and tell us a little about your practice.
Megan Baca: I’m so glad you’re here today. So, tell us, who is your special guest that you’ll be interviewing for our episode today?
Amy Jane Longo: The guest I had the pleasure of interviewing is Jennifer Chun Barry. Jenn is an associate general counsel in special investigations at Meta. And Jenn was previously, like myself, a trial attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission, both in Los Angeles and in Philadelphia. She’s also a former federal prosecutor, so she’s got a fascinating background that we talked about during our interview.
Megan Baca: How did you two meet and start working together?
Amy Jane Longo: Jenn was in my unit at the SEC. She came out to the Los Angeles office from the Philadelphia office, and so we worked together as trial attorneys at the SEC and worked on a number of enforcement matters together.
Megan Baca: What would you say is most notable about Jenn’s career?
Amy Jane Longo: I would say a few things really stand out about Jenn. One is just the diversity of her experience. I think there are few people that have experience as a federal prosecutor, an SEC trial attorney, and an in-house lawyer. I think that depth of experience and practice gives her a really unique perspective on the matters she’s handling for Meta. I also think what stands out about Jenn is just her commitment to her values that she brings to her work. She’s an amazing team leader and she’s also very committed to whatever institution she’s with to bringing to bear the importance of diversity and mentoring, and those are some of the things that I most enjoyed talking to Jenn about.
Megan Baca: That sounds really inspiring. With that, I will happily turn it over to you and Jenn, so take it away.
Amy Jane Longo: Hi, Jenn—thanks for joining us on the podcast today. It’s so exciting to have you here.
Amy Jane Longo: Why don’t we start by just having you tell our listeners a little bit about your background, which I think is such an interesting and diverse one for a corporate attorney.
Jennifer Chun Barry: I will say, my background is a bit unconventional. I would say that because it took me, I think, a few years to get my footing after graduating from law school and thinking, “What do I want to do with my life now that I am a lawyer?” After law school, I joined a firm in Philadelphia and quickly felt like something was missing. My friends in the AAPI community maybe can relate to this—when you have immigrant parents, there's an expectation that your children are going to be doctors or engineers, which I tend to think are careers that are a little more maybe linear in finding success. Thankfully, I have an amazing big brother who was a doctor, so I had some cover to try to figure out what I wanted to do when I was unsure that this was just going to be this path in a firm to partnership. So, I went to the Hill to work for a Senator at a friend's suggestion, and this is the unconventional part of my journey. And what I appreciated about that was it just jostled me back to maybe what it really meant and what I wanted to do as a lawyer, which was to help people, and so, the desire to do public interest work, I think, as an attorney really was the fruit of that experience. Again, thinking about what that meant, I had a friend that suggested that maybe I should apply to the U.S. Attorney's Office—he thought I would be a good fit there. That was just not really something on my radar. As everyone knows, it's very competitive to get into the U.S. Attorney's Office, but I gave it a shot and I'm so glad that I did because I was able to get a job at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia.
For as much uncertainty as I had in the beginning of the first few years coming out of law school, I definitely found my home, I found my calling, and I was an AUSA for the next 17 years. Even within that experience while I was an AUSA, I think it was unique because I was able to work in an extra-large office like Philadelphia, but also spent a few years in a smaller district in Cincinnati where I was able to be the acting financial crimes chief as well as the head of the mortgage fraud task force there. I had a really great experience, and most of all, just becoming a trial lawyer and doing a lot of trials, and my passion for trial work at the U.S. Attorney's Office was really evident. I could see myself there probably forever, except that particularly in the last seven to 10 years doing white collar, I felt that I wouldn't be the best, most well-rounded trial lawyer without doing a civil federal trial. So, with that and with looking to challenge myself, I was very fortunate to work or get a job at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Philadelphia and really be able to jump into what I consider probably one of the most sophisticated practices, which is securities litigation and enforcement. I just really learned a ton, and I was also very lucky to become, like you, Amy, the head of the Trial Unit in Philadelphia.
Family circumstances had us move out West to L.A., where I was able to transition to the Trial Unit there and then become the acting regional trial counsel, Amy, after you left to join Ropes. I really had considered myself a government lawyer and thought my career would probably end with the government, but somehow, the move just gave me the opportunity to think about if there was another challenge, if there was something else that I wanted to do. I had this very unique background in terms of working in law enforcement as well as with a regulator, having built a skillset of complex investigations and lots and lots of trials. Also having been a supervisor, you really get that at-the-table view of process, priorities, and people. One of the things I hadn't considered was in-house and how do those—the things that I have—work in terms of supporting a business? And so, I ended up landing at Meta, which I feel so fortunate. I feel so fortunate because it's a great company and I'm on a great team. And I think that it's this two-way give and take where I think I have a lot to offer but I think I have a lot to learn and to receive from being in-house now as a corporate attorney and seeing what that's like. So, that's where I am today.
Amy Jane Longo: Wonderful. I know a lot of our listeners can probably relate to taking a chance and making a move, and I think it’s so interesting to hear your perspective on being in different settings like that. I know people would also love to hear more about what you do at Meta. What does your role there as an associate general counsel in special investigations include?
Jennifer Chun Barry: I like to say, “I’m still new”—that is something I say at Meta, because it’s a big place, and there’s a steep learning curve. Jumping into a global technology company is a tremendous learning experience. I am lucky to be in the special investigations group. The best way I would describe it or the cool way I like to describe it is that it is like a SWAT team, and so, to the extent we are tasked to do internal investigations that may relate to potential criminal or regulatory compliance risk to the company, that’s what we take on and certainly assist in reducing any kind of risk. So, it’s just very fascinating work and learning about the business, because I think you’re not just in one single area—you are working across all areas, and so, it’s really cool to see what the business does.
Amy Jane Longo: Now, I know you spoke about your interest in trial work and that that’s a passion of yours. What would you say it is that attracted you to that aspect of litigation and lawyering to start with?
Jennifer Chun Barry: Your personality drives the areas of law that you ultimately find yourself, and I think there are two things that really draw me to trial work. Now, trial work and litigation can be a little bit different, so I'm going to focus on the trial stuff because that's the really fun stuff. I played lacrosse and field hockey in college, so this analogy that I think fits is the team aspect and playing team sports really resonates with why I have that passion for trial work. I just love being on a team, and when you're on trial, you have a team. And like the different positions on a team, everyone plays an important role when you're getting ready for trial, whether it's a trial partner, an agent, multiple agents, a paralegal, or your litigation support—there's just a lot of players playing different roles, and like different positions, all of them are important. In my mind, a successful team is one where everyone's rolling up their sleeves and just has this common goal and this common mission that we're trying to achieve together. And that "v" (that “versus”) really makes that clear why it's our team versus another team, and I just really love that.
Playing team sports, I really love to practice. I think that practice is the same as preparation, preparation, preparation for a trial. All of that hard work and work ethic I always found so rewarding because I think when you work hard, you get the benefit of the reward, and it just gets you ready for that big game. So, similar to a big game, you've got your trial, and all of that preparation and all of that practice in many ways—not just to make sure that everything at trial is going well—you're going to have a ref, and in a trial, you have the court. They're going to make calls that go for you and calls that go against you, and you have to be prepared for either. I think the preparation allows for that so that you can pivot, you don't get shaken, and also, when a call goes your way, that it's an easy goal and that you have to take those opportunities when they come—I think all the preparation allows for that. So, there are a lot of analogies out there, like jumping into a foxhole, and all of that, but I think the team aspect of trial work is what really made me love it so much.
The second thing I think that I love about trials is just the drama. And when I say drama, I mean that you can prepare—you should know your facts inside and out, all of that—but at the end of the day, this is a human experience. Human beings are going to be your witnesses. You’ve got the court. You’ve got your adversary. You’re communicating to a jury of your peers. You can control only so much, but you cannot control other people. I think this is where the dynamics of trial and the communication and the drama that unfolds is where, as my friend used to tell me, “This is why AUSAs and former AUSAs get invited to cocktail parties, because you cannot make this stuff up.” I think that makes its way into that experience of the trial—it’s just that part of it that is the X-factor that you’re not going to be able to control. For some lawyers obviously, that’s cringe-worthy, because the whole idea of not being able to control something is not something that some people like to do, but that’s what makes it challenging, that’s what makes it fun, and that’s why I probably did it for as long as I did.
Amy Jane Longo: I will certainly say, although we didn’t get to try any cases together, I appreciated your team spirit so much in the cases we did litigate together, and I think that really shines through, as I’m sure anyone would say who’s gotten the pleasure of working with you, Jenn. Let me ask you what accomplishment in your career you’re the most proud of, but before I let you answer, I want to say something that I thought was really striking was that you were recently inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, which is such a prestigious honor. I was very happy to see that that happened and happy for you—it’s such an impressive recognition. So, tell us if that or something else in your career is what you’d say you’re most proud of.
Jennifer Chun Barry: Thank you for that. Being inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, I think, was nice because it’s just a recognition that trial work is hard. I’ve done a lot of trials, and I think it’s just nice to have been recognized for that, so I am truly appreciative of that honor. I feel like I’ve been so blessed with the career that I’ve had and the portfolio of trials that I’ve been able to do because they’re a good mix. I think when I started at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia, we were allowed to be generalists, at least when I first started. I understand from an administrative standpoint, it’s much easier to manage when people are on teams, and you’re doing a steady diet of whatever the subject matter is for that particular team, but I started out as a generalist, so I was able to try a lot of different kinds of cases. I have about 30 federal jury trials that are a good mix of both violent crime cases as well as white collar, so I feel really lucky, and I feel like it was just a nice recognition with that.
I will say, though, that for me, doing the job, the main and most rewarding part probably is with the victims of any of the kinds of cases that I’ve done. I think just having their moment for justice and their time to address how they’ve been affected and how they’ve managed through. I’ve had victims actually testify in the trials, and it’s so incredibly rewarding. I’m incredibly proud of when people take that moment and do the hard thing. It’s not easy to relive any of it, and so, I think that those are the moments where I feel, “This is really rewarding.” I think also for me, having done the job for a long time—and just for any litigator, any person who’s been practicing law for a long time—how you practice is a reflection of who you are. When you have credibility with the defense bar and credibility with the court, and people trust you with what you say, I think, for me, hopefully that kind of reputation over the time that I’ve been practicing has been probably the thing that I cherish in terms of maintaining that and building on that. Someone said, “She’s tough when she needs to be.” And I think I like that, because it’s a simple way of saying hopefully that what I have is good judgment and fairness. So, there are definitely bigger cases that you feel really good about, and definitely hard cases that when you’re successful you feel great, but I think it’s really the doing right, and giving victims the floor and that moment for them I think is the most rewarding having maintained and established a reputation of fairness and credibility.
I think, though, from my life standpoint, really deciding to have a family late in life, that’s probably the proudest achievement in doing something that I didn’t think I was going to do and taking it on even though it was incredibly hard. I was a little late to the game, but I think that is probably the proudest.
Amy Jane Longo: That’s a good segue, I think, to talk about relationships, Jenn. Not necessarily family relationships, but I’m curious in terms of your perspective, what is the importance of relationship building in growing a career and maintaining a practice?
Jennifer Chun Barry: I will say that it’s incredibly important. Two things from my own challenges were, one, because I came into law without any real experience in my world, and understanding how those kinds of relationships would work from a career standpoint, it took me a while to understand what it meant and then how to develop it. The second thing about just relationships and maintaining them, the advent of social media and how prevalent it is in terms of maintaining relationships and things like that, it feels like that whole boom came about at a time when I was an AUSA. I think there was a real reticence to participate in social media because of the work we did, and that was definitely also my challenge. It’s a challenge because I didn’t understand how that worked and how effective and important that can be in terms of developing and maintaining relationships. I would say, number one, that I was not very good at it. Changes in my career only came through a relationship I had that somebody introduced me to this idea or into the company. I’ve only made my moves through somebody saying, “Have you thought about doing this?” Or, seeing a friend doing it, and then thinking, “Maybe I should try that,” and being able to work where I wanted to go next through those relationships. So, I obviously think it’s really important. And how you maintain them, it has to take some effort.
I think that’s another thing: It takes some effort to maintain your relationships—you have to reach out. One of the things about Meta, and I’m still new there, but it’s a place where relationships are a crucial component to the culture and really to anybody’s job there. So, I am really learning—I really try to go about, whether it’s my life or my career, with a growth mindset. They have these fun expressions, sayings, or affirmations that just reflect or expound on company culture, and one of the things I’ve seen is, “Begin anywhere.” And I think for me, even if I missed out or even if I wasn’t good at something in the beginning, it doesn’t mean I can’t do it now, and I don’t think it means anyone can’t do it now. Even if you haven’t been thinking about how you can build and maintain relationships, it’s just start anywhere or begin anywhere—just start doing it. Just have coffee with somebody. Part of relationship building is it helps your career to know what other people are doing, because you never know where you may land, whether it’s with a case that you’re working on and then you know somebody in that space, or you end up deciding you want to do something and change your role and know somebody that can help you do that. It can be for a variety of reasons, but more than anything, in your career, you’re hopefully going to have a long career, and it makes the career and the job more fun and just allows you to think about things in different ways by maintaining those professional relationships and contexts that you have along the way. However you’re meeting somebody, just from one job to the next, it makes you just so much more aware of what’s out there, whether it’s legal issues, or whether it’s just points of view. I think it’s super important to have those relationships and to maintain them, but they do take effort.
Amy Jane Longo: I really like that, “Begin anywhere.” I think that’s great advice, and you could apply it to so many things that you shouldn’t be deterred—you can basically start from where you are. I imagine that you think mentoring is something that’s really important and that would be a priority for you, especially, it sounds like you came to the search for mentors in the start of your practice. How would you describe how you try to incorporate that into your day-to-day and at Meta?
Jennifer Chun Barry: I think I was adrift when I first started out because I didn't have a person—no one was mentoring me, so I didn’t really find and truly understand what a mentor was until I had one. I finally had a supervisor, Rich Goldberg, who was my first mentor and just remains a mentor and great friend. He looked at my docket and said, “What the bleep-bleep-bleep?” Because it was just out of control—I think I was carrying some ungodly number of cases. He asked, “How is this possible? How did this happen?” And I said, “I don’t know. No one told me to say ‘no.’ No one told me what I should be doing, what I should be taking, how much time I needed for each matter.” And he was the first person to say, “Let’s figure this out.” As we progressed, he said, “What do you want to be? What do you want, Jenn?” And I said, “I want to be that go-to prosecutor. I want to be the person that whatever case comes in, whatever kind of trial, no matter how hard, how bad or great the facts, whatever it is, that Jenn can do it.” I think it just set me up for the lawyer I wanted to be, and I needed that person to ask me the question, and then say, “How do we get there?” Now, being as they say an “old head” and being senior in my career, I really think it’s important to be that sounding board for whomever, whether it’s in an official or unofficial capacity.
A place like Meta, I feel, is a place that really takes that mentorship very seriously. There are official programs to have mentors or to be mentors. I think that it’s hard—obviously, COVID changes a lot and not seeing people makes it a little more difficult—but there’s still a huge encouragement to reach out. Asking for a mentor is not like “I dub you my mentor, and you shall be my mentor.” These things have to grow. There are official ways, and that’s one way, but I don’t think you have to have just one. You can have more than one, and they don’t have to be someone necessarily senior to you—they can be my immediate peers as my mentors or somebody who seems junior but has done something that I feel like I can learn from. I don’t think there’s one way to look at also mentorship or being a mentor to someone or for someone. I think that Meta’s the kind of place that encourages that, and I think that across the board wherever you are, whether it’s at a firm, in-house, or with the government, that having a mentor and then eventually being a mentor is important, and that by doing that, you are creating how the culture remains because you’re passing these things forward. So, I do think it’s been incredibly important to me, and I take it incredibly seriously in terms of, even on my resume, I think I just put as one of my things, “mentor.” I am here to mentor, and also happy to be mentored.
Amy Jane Longo: Now, Jenn, I know another thing that’s important to you and that you are working on at Meta are issues around diversity and inclusion. I’m curious, is there particular advice you offer to women and diverse attorneys starting out in their legal careers?
Jennifer Chun Barry: There’s a saying, and I think maybe this is more as you are going along in your career, “Empowered women empower women.” I think it’s important to look for the folks who you see have that understanding of where you are in your life and can help you through that, in that I speak of more towards women. And then, being a diverse attorney, it’s hard for me to describe as a young lawyer now because I think it’s very different from when I started. There were very few women and almost no Asians when I started, at least where I started practicing in Philadelphia, and so, to the extent that there were affinity organizations, I really encourage using those resources. I didn’t really understand it as much as I do now. I think a lot of things I went through—there wasn’t even a vocabulary, so you could hardly say that you would have a voice back in those times, where words like being an “ally,” “allyship,” or just the understanding of those things, and the fact that diverse lawyers may be going through different experiences, was not something that anyone paid attention to when I started out.
Now, there are real efforts on diversity and inclusion in such a short period of time, that has grown, and the number of women and the number of more diverse attorneys that are now in practice, it’s so encouraging and it’s so incredible to see. So, all I can say is take advantage of the resource groups and the affinity groups that resonate for you as a young person, a less experienced lawyer, or somebody new in their career, because not only will you potentially find a mentor, which is just the plus, plus, plus of it all, it’s just that common experience, understanding, and knowing you’re not alone in that. It will make your experience practicing law not isolating in a way that’s not, “A brief is a brief is a brief,” or all of that. The legal part is the legal part, but how it’s delivered, how you may see things, how you experience interaction as you’re doing those things can be very different for women and for diverse attorneys. To know that those experiences are shared and how to make opportunities or how to understand what’s happening and how to deal with them, you don’t have to do that on your own—you have people that can really not just sympathize but empathize, and I think that will help your experience going forward.
In that spirit of “begin anywhere,” at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, we had a very robust African American History Month program. I knew there were only a few Asian Americans in the office, and I had asked one of my friends, "Why aren't we doing anything?" And he agreed, and so, the two of us decided, "Let's do a program. Let's keep it simple. We'll just broadcast the speaker from Main Justice," which at the time was Tammy Duckworth. "If we get 10 people to come it will be a win, but we can't have any kind of program without having lunch. It has to be $10 at the U.S. Attorney's Office—nobody's going to pay more than that.” So, it was advertising the program. I told my friend Randy, who's Chinese—I'm Korean—I said, "You're the one who speaks Mandarin. You've got to go make sure we get these lunches for $10." We're running into Chinatown, we're picking up the lunches, and we had 15 to 20 people show up, and so, we just decided, “We can do this thing.” The next year, we were able to offer an office-wide program that we created ourselves. We had our own speaker, which was Judge Denny Chin. I think 150 people at least showed up, and we were still able to keep our lunch to $10 a person. I just give that example to say you can do this thing—a small thing can become a big thing. Also, you seek resources, but at the same time, you can also become a resource and you can touch a lot of people and start to build that understanding about diversity. At Meta, there is a real attempt to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and I really appreciate that. There are tens of thousands of people who work at the company, so we have lots of employee resource groups for our diverse communities, including programming and content, so there's lots of internal resources. Also, externally, at least in legal, we've got pro bono opportunities. I'm also a member of the racial justice task force, where my pillar works with outside counsel on promoting diversity. So, having and appreciating the opportunities in your workplace to promote and highlight the significance and importance of diversity is a good and powerful thing.
Amy Jane Longo: Jenn, I’d love to hear your thoughts, because I share your views there, and I think people would also be interested to hear from your perspective, besides being right and good, as an in-house counsel, what do you see as the advantages of seeing diversity reflected in folks you partner with and in your own organization?
Jennifer Chun Barry: The benefit of diversity within organizations and in leadership is certainly perspectives that are important, and gap-filling in terms of how people may see the world. We have a civil rights group, which, to me, is just so crazy good that in a space where we are moving forward into all kinds of new technologies, that we have an actual group that is thinking about and working with, “How are we going to make sure that when we are moving forward, we’re thinking about diversity, to make sure that all communities are being able to benefit from the next big advancement in the technologies as they come forward and are being produced?”
I will just say, from a personal point of view where I saw diversity in just a very straightforward way, one of my colleagues is a white collar prosecutor, but was doing a violent crimes case, and it was a gunpoint robbery. After the trial, I said, “How’d it go? What happened?” And the agent said, “Jenn, we got a hung. It was this video surveillance—can you take a look at it, and can you tell me what you think?” So, it’s video surveillance on the robbery as it’s happening, and the cooperator has a gun and is brandishing it. The co-conspirator who went to trial was in the video, as were the victims. The defendant at the time was raising his hands, and there’s no sound, so the defense said, “This is just the cooperator person with the gun who’s saying that our guy was involved when he’s not, because he wants cooperation. He’s just in the store like everybody else. Look at him—he’s raising his hands above his head.” When I looked at it and I looked at the video, I said, “Your shopkeepers, do they speak English?” And they just looked at me, and I said, “In any situation where someone doesn’t think you speak English, there’s always this exaggeration where people speak more slowly or speak inexplicably louder or whatever it is. And you can imagine in an excitable situation like a gunpoint robbery when you are trying to tell somebody to put their hands over their head and they don’t speak English, you are just doing that—you are putting your hands over your head saying, ‘Put your hands over your head.’” This is not something that the prosecutor or the agent had thought about, and they had asked a lot of people, but that’s diversity 101—maybe your person doesn’t speak English, and this is the reason why this is happening. I think that those are the ways that diversity plays out, because people have different experiences, points of view, challenges, and things that can really enhance or create a better understanding of what’s happening. I think that that is the real strength of diversity, whether in your leadership, whether it’s a law firm, whether it’s a business, whether it’s an agency—having diverse perspectives, I think, only makes you stronger. And for the record, my colleague and the agent, they were successful on that retrial.
Amy Jane Longo: That’s a great example, and I feel like it’s so helpful to illustrate concepts with real-life examples like that, so it’s not just lofty goals or values we’re talking about, but really seeing how they play out in daily life. I’m curious, Jenn, how do you feel that the perspectives you bring inform what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis now at Meta? And I’m also interested to hear, because I know it’s such a dynamic industry, how that affects your role doing special investigations for the company.
Jennifer Chun Barry: I mentioned that I've been at Meta for less than a year, so I'm still new and I'm limited on what I can say, but generally speaking, I think the company’s always working on advancements, as any technology company would be. When I was thinking about going to a place like Meta, I thought, “This is the most revolutionary advancement in how we communicate.” With every good, positive, and incredible technological step you take comes along challenges, and it’s good versus evil. You make this incredible platform for people to build community, and I think what is inevitable is that somebody could use it for their own purposes and take advantage of it for something that is not positive. And so, Meta is on the forefront on how to do things right. When you're building incredible things and you're making technological advancements on how we communicate and do business, and figuring out generative AI and creating immersive experiences like the Metaverse, you're dealing with top-of-the-fold issues—issues of what are the threats, the risks, and how are these spaces going to be regulated? So, hopefully my background gives some perspective on how the Department of Justice or the SEC might view these issues. I'm familiar in working in environments with shifting legal landscapes, so I think I bring that to the job, as well as just having investigated and done complex investigations for most of my career, I have that background that informs in my job. I think finally, I've worked with and have been surrounded by some of the smartest, most talented, and incredible people when I was at the U.S. Attorney's Office, as well as at the SEC—that's something where you just absorb this mission, and being around and in that environment constantly, it just becomes part of your professional DNA. Now, I find myself at Meta, and again, working with and surrounded by super smart, talented, and nice people. What I hope that I'm bringing is just that energy to a place where there's the expectation of high achievement and excellence in the mission that you're pursuing. So, I think that's the experience that I have that helps me with the job.
Amy Jane Longo: Let me ask maybe in closing, Jenn, what would you say was the most important piece of advice someone has given you in your career?
Jennifer Chun Barry: I feel like this was life advice, which is part of, obviously, “career,” and I will say that the most influential people in my life are my parents. They’ve given me lots of amazing advice, but the one my dad told me and that I carry with me in many situations with respect to a lot of things, including my career, is, “Be brave.” His way of saying “Be brave,” is “Be brave to pursue that happiness. Be brave to start that family. Be brave to get up and do this opening argument. Be brave to do whatever the thing is.” I think about that, and I think, “I’m not getting on a military cargo vessel at 19 years old where my family has given up their entire life savings to get me on a ship.” I think the life savings was $400. “Get me on a ship to go to a country and leave my homeland behind, and probably not see it maybe ever again. Go to a land where I don’t speak English—I don’t speak the language. I know that I have some cousin in Michigan, and I’m eventually supposed to get there.” I’m not doing that, so I think I can get up and I can do this opening argument. I think that for a lot of friends out there who have parents who are immigrants, they can relate to that. I think that my dad in saying, “Be brave,” is just saying, ‘You can do the thing—you can do this.” Knowing what they did and how they came to this country, it makes me who I am, and it makes a lot of things, as hard as they seem, seem possible based on what I know they’ve been through and what they’ve done. Being an AUSA for me was in large part that appreciation for coming to a country like this and having the life that they’ve built for themselves. So, be brave.
Amy Jane Longo: They must be very proud of you. I think your career is great evidence of your bravery, turning to a lot of different challenges and doing so well in all of them. I really appreciate you sharing all your advice, stories, and insights with us today—this has been wonderful.
Jennifer Chun Barry: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me, and it’s great speaking with you. I feel lucky to have you as a friend and mentor.
Amy Jane Longo: Thanks, Jenn—same here.
Megan Baca: Amy and Jenn, thank you both so much, that was fantastic. And as always, thanks to our listeners. For more information about Ropes & Gray’s Women’s Forum and our women attorneys, please visit ropesgray.com/women. You can also subscribe to this series wherever you typically listen to podcasts, including on Apple,Google, and Spotify. Thanks again for listening.
For more information or to contact Jennifer Chun Barry, please visit her LinkedIn bio.
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