Kira P. Watson, Esq.
Partner, Bryan Cave L.L.P. New York City Age: 39
According to a Ghanaian proverb, when you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. Not only did Kira Pallis Watson become a corporate lawyer like her father, but her twin sister became an educator like their mother. As children, the twins shuttled between East Harlem and the Upper West Side of Manhattan after their parents divorced. Watson graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Bryn Mawr College and a law degree from Fordham Law School.
She joined Bryan Cave L.L.P. in 1999 as an associate and rose to partner in 2005, the first African-American woman in the firm to do so.
“I’m a hard worker. [I] developed the skills I needed and worked with some really great lawyers who mentored me and supported me,” explains Watson. “You can’t make partner without the skills and relationships.”
At Bryan Cave’s New York City office, she handles complex commercial litigations, white-collar criminal trials and internal investigations. “We’re busy, but these are slow times for everyone,” explains Watson. “The merger [in January with Atlanta’s Powell Goldstein L.L.P.] sets us up for when the recovery comes, to hit the ground running and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.”
Recently married, Watson spent her honeymoon in South Africa. “Things are going so well. I’m comfortable with being at the firm and with my new husband,” she says.“I’m looking for continued success and happiness.”
Quote: "Prior planning prevents poor performance."
Favorite book/author: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Xbox or PlayStation: Neither
Favorite sports team: New York Knicks
What artist would you go on tour with: Prince
First job: Sales person at the Gap
Number of countries visited: 12
Favorite charity: Union Settlement Assoc. Bedford-Styvesant Restoration Corp.