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Molly Pease is the Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer at Curiam Capital LLC where she leads the day-to-day operations of this private investment firm that provides financing for high-value commercial litigation.
Molly is responsible for sourcing, underwriting and monitoring the firm’s single-case and portfolio litigation funding investments and oversees Curiam’s compliance program.
Molly started her career as a litigator with a focus on large-scale reinsurance, insurance, antitrust and securities disputes on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants. Molly later worked as Executive Director and General Counsel at two boutique litigation firms, where she developed and implemented long-term business strategies in all aspects of firm management, including financial analysis and reporting, business development and marketing, human resource recruitment and management, legal project management, information technology systems, and office operations.
Molly received her law degree from New York University School of Law and her undergraduate degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She is a member of the faculty of the High Performance Counsel #thinktank sessions, is on Law360’s Legal Industry Editorial Advisory Board, and has been named one of Lawdragon’s Global Leaders in Legal Finance. Molly has also spoken and written extensively about legal finance.
Learn more about Molly in this Women Who Wow profile. (Note, I even used the Oxford comma for her!)
Why did you choose your profession?
I decided to go to law school after college, but always loved math and numbers. Working on financial crisis litigation at a boutique litigation firm years later, one of our clients was interested in third-party financing, so I first learned about the world of legal finance in that context. Several years after that, two close colleagues and friends asked me if I wanted to join them in launching a new litigation finance firm. It seemed the perfect opportunity to continue to use my legal skills, while also building on my experience with finance and finally getting to spend more time with numbers.
While I enjoy the strategy and legal analysis that goes into underwriting and monitoring our litigation investments, I also love building financial models in Excel to evaluate the pricing and performance of our investments. Though litigation finance was not my intended “profession” after college (in fact, litigation finance may have barely existed at that time), I always kept myself open to new opportunities and learning new things. That worked out well for me, and I now love what I do.
Do you have a mentor?
Yes, I have had several mentors throughout my career, but one stands out in particular. We first met almost 15 years ago when I was a mid-level associate, and he joined the firm as counsel. We became good friends and colleagues.
When I came back from maternity leave after having my first child, I struggled with meeting the expectations of the firm and coming up with a schedule that worked for me as a new mother. I decided to resign from the firm with the intention of becoming a high school math teacher (again, my love for math). When he found out, he helped the partners realize that my departure would be a significant talent loss for the firm, and he encouraged them to allow me to work a flexible schedule that accommodated my obligations at home. It was the definition of men working as allies for women in the workplace. To this day, we joke about how if not for him, I might be busy grading math exams (or on summer vacation, as the case may be!).
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
Do not be afraid to speak up and voice your opinion. You may be one of the more junior people in the room or you may be one of the only women in the room, so it is not always easy. But it is extremely important.
Studies have shown that men tend to speak up, even when they are not certain about what they are saying, whereas women hesitate to speak up unless they are sure they are 100% correct. It is helpful to be aware of this trend and actively work to correct it. I believe it is much worse to miss out on making a good point than to make a point that ends up not carrying the day.
It is also helpful to work in an environment where everyone is encouraged to brainstorm ideas and speak up, even if all ideas might not be the best ideas.
Also, please proofread your writing meticulously, avoid split infinitives, and use the Oxford comma.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Early in my career, as I started to manage junior lawyers and staff, the managing partner of my firm told me that if everyone at work liked me, I was not doing my job well. It was eye-opening advice at the time and has stuck with me ever since. I interpret it to mean that it is important to be fair, reasonable, and respected at work, especially in a role that supervises others, but it is not possible to make everyone happy at all times with every decision you make. And that is just fine. Make thoughtful decisions, give honest feedback, be tough when it is justified, and your colleagues will respect that.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
One key for me in maintaining work/life balance is an absolute commitment to organizational skills. In any given week, I have hundreds of small things to remember, whether it is completing a work project by a certain deadline, remembering which day is recycling day, or registering my children for a sports team, making sure I buy the uniform in time, and setting up a carpool schedule. This would all be impossible to track without strong organizational skills. I am religious about putting everything in my Outlook calendar, tracking tasks in task management apps that give me the ability to set reminders, manage deadlines, and check off completed tasks, and even using old school post-it notes for especially important daily reminders. Everyone needs to find a system that works for them. But I believe that the stress of missed deadlines, scrambling on forgotten tasks, and missing things that need to get done makes any sort of work/life balance impossible.
What is a surprising/fun fact about you?
One bright spot with the pandemic and working from home is that I have had more flexibility with my schedule. I am proud to say that every single day since March 22, 2020, I have done at least one Peloton cycling, strength, or yoga class. That is 365 days in a row at the time of writing (and I have no intention of breaking my streak!). I hope that one of the lessons I can remember from this time is the importance of prioritizing my health as I balance all of my other work and family responsibilities. If any other Peloton enthusiasts out there want to follow me, I am #MollySpinning.