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Style and Substance: A Conversation with Maria Z. Vathis

The Federal Bar Association President Leads With Grace and Style

Maria Z. Vathis handles complex business litigation and class actions at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP.  She also advises corporate clients on statutory regulations and compliance, including the GDPR and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  She represents retail clients throughout the United States and in Europe.  She is a frequent speaker at fashion law conferences in Chicago, New York, Paris, France and on the internet.  As of October 1, 2018, Maria has been the national President of the Federal Bar Association.  She is also the President of the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois. Below, she answers rapid fire questions!

When I wake up…I head straight to my Nespresso machine for coffee.

Before I go to bed…I set my goals for the next day.

Style means…an opportunity to share who you are and how you feel with the world.

A well-dressed person…gets noticed and inspires others to follow suit – no pun intended.

Women should always…know their worth.

Men should always…dress appropriately for the occasion.

The biggest misconception about me…I think that sometimes people automatically assume that women are weak.  I am much stronger than one might initially think.

My favorite quote…changes depending on where I am in my life.  My favorite fashion-related quote is from Coco Chanel, which is “a woman should be two things: classy and fabulous.”  Right now, my favorite quote about life in general is from ancient Greek philosopher Plato, which is “Life must be lived as play.”  But the quote that I always come back to, which is also from Plato, is “Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”

If I weren’t doing what I’m doing today…I would be an anchorwoman on TV or a fashion designer.

My legacy will be…it’s too soon to tell.  I’m still refining it!  That being said, I am proud to be only the tenth female president of the Federal Bar Association in the 99 years that the organization has existed as well as tied for one of the youngest.  I am honored and proud to lead such a distinguished group of attorneys and judges from around the United States and its territories.

Gratitude means…focusing on the positive things in your life.

The future of fashion is…that there will be no rules.

Happiness is…making the most of where you are and doing what you love.

Sustainability is…a necessary consideration for those in the fashion industry and for consumers.

My family…equals love.

Giving back means…recognizing that even a simple, small act of kindness can change someone’s outlook.

In the end…there’s a new beginning.

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