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MAUREEN DWYER

Washington DC Legal DC

After 36 years as a land use and zoning attorney, Goulston & Storrs principal Maureen Dwyer gets satisfaction sightseeing in DC. "I can drive around the city and say, 'I helped build that building.'" She's currently working with colleague Dave Avitabile on Square 75, a GW redevelopment of several university-owned properties along Pennsylvania Ave; they've just finished the entitlement process and are finding a development partner. It's similar to another one of her projects: Square 54 with Boston Properties. It's a long way from her original dream of being a litigator in poverty law to "change the world" (she attended Smith College from '69 to '73, during the anti-war movement). But when her son Jason was born during law school, she realized she didn't want to be on call 24/7; she wanted a job that would allow family time. So she chose a small real estate firm.

Maureen is a pioneer, as the first woman land use and zoning attorney. (At one Zoning Commission meeting, one of the commissioners said, "Wait a minute, Wilkes Artis hires women? This is amazing.") She had the unusual experience of sitting in a conference room where it was assumed she was someone's assistant. "Over time, it got to a point where they understood there could actually be women who were lawyers," she says. Maureen and partner Allison Prince mentor young women considering real estate law. Advice: reach out to people in the field who are already doing it and establish relationships; also join women's groups (think Women's Bar Association, CREW), which provide leadership opportunities. Outside of work, Maureen has two grown sons (Jason is in DC finance and married to Katie, Jonathan is a Green Beret in Afghanistan), a 2-year-old granddaughter, a 3-month-old grandson, and 13 nieces and nephews.