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Meet A WINner:Petek Günay Balatsas

We are grateful to Petek for co-leading our law circle with an upcoming WW gathering coming up this Wednesday, April 13th, 2022!Petek Günay Balatsas i...
Meet A WINner:Petek Günay Balatsas

We are grateful to Petek for co-leading our law circle with an upcoming WW gathering coming up this Wednesday, April 13th, 2022!

Petek Günay Balatsas is a partner at Dunning Rievman LLP, a New York law firm. She specializes in civil litigation and alternative dispute resolution with an emphasis on complex commercial, corporate and employment disputes, both domestic and international. 

Petek is a graduate of Robert College High School in Istanbul and earned her B.A. in Economics from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Petek subsequently worked for two years as an Operations and Foreign Exchange Specialist at the New York branch of Vakifbank, one of Turkey’s largest bank. Petek thereafter attended, and graduated cum laude from, Brooklyn Law School, where she was a member of the school’s Journal of Law and Policy and a merit scholar. 

After 13 years in practice and associations with three distinguished law firms where she worked under the tutelage of some of New York’s leading trial attorneys, in 2013, Petek started her own boutique firm, Gunay Law, P.C.  Motivated by the growth of Gunay Law, in 2021, Petek joined Dunning Rievman LLP together with her practice, and established the firm’s Turkish desk.

In 2020, Petek was recognized by The American Turkish Society, a reputable nonprofit organization established in 1949 to enhance business, economic, and cultural ties between Turkey and the United States, as one of the organization’s Young Society Leaders, a group of accomplished professionals with a demonstrated record of leadership ability and commitment to serve the U.S.-Turkish community at large.  In 2021, she was featured in “Amerika’da Nasıl Başardılar?” (“How Did They Succeed in the U.S.?”), a book comprised of interviews with seventeen Turkish-born individuals recognized for outstanding accomplishments in the United States in the fields of business, law and science.

 

  1. What do you do for a living? Tell us more about you.

I am a complex litigation, contract, business and employment attorney in New York.  After 12 years in practice, in 2013, I started my own firm, Gunay Law, P.C.  In 2021, I merged my practice into Dunning Rievman LLP, a reputable New York firm with a particular focus on international matters and clients, and established the firm’s Turkish desk.

  1. What's the best piece of advice you've received?

 You will always have an advantage if you are prepared. My Grandmother used to tell me “Gidecegi yer belli olmayan gemiye hic bir ruzgar yardim edemez.” (No wind can favor the ship that has no destination).  Turns out it is a quote by Montaigne.  It is so true.

  1. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate.

      Milk

  1. One thing you wish you had known earlier in your career.

That it will all be ok.

  1. What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

Moving to a country I had never been to at the age of 18. I only recognize it as courageous in hindsight, of course. At the time, I thought of it as a fun adventure.

  1. If you could have any three people (dead or alive) over for dinner – who would they be?

  My parents and my husband. My mom and my husband get along great but my dad passed long before I met my husband. It would be fascinating to observe the dynamics.

  1. Name a book you read that positively shaped you.

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

  1. You believe in sisterhood at work because…

sadly, we still have a long way to go to equal treatment, equal access to opportunities and equal pay. We need to have each other’s backs.

  1. Who are your role models?

 My mom and my grandmother

  1. If you had one superpower, what would it be?

 Teleportation. It would come so handy to be able to travel without wasting hours on the road….  

  1. Share a story about a time when you were really proud of your achievement 

There are quite a few stories because with time, you teach yourself to celebrate even the smallest achievements. Professionally, I find it a tremendous achievement when I impress an adversary. One gave me a job offer after we wrapped up our case; it was certainly a proud moment.

  1. Share a story about a time how you recovered from a great mistake 

 In my first year of my first job out of law school, I made a colossal mistake on a motion filing because nobody had showed me how to do what I was supposed to. I recovered from it as you recover from most mistakes: with time. I certainly knew from then on that I should never expect anyone to teach me how to do my job.

  1. Your advice to the next generation of career women from your learnings.

 Keep swimming.

  1. Do you have any pets?

Yes, a Siberian Husky named Roger, who looks like a wolf and acts like a clown.

  1. If you weren’t in your industry – what would you be doing?

Acting

  1. What is your advice on beating the imposter syndrome? 

Know that everyone deals with it in one way or another. The trick is to learn to recognize it as it is happening so you can appreciate it is not based in reality.

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