Women’s History Month Spotlight: Mia Kelly

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Mia Kelly

In what ways does being a woman influence you in your work?

I want to make sure make sure people feel heard.  So many times early in my career, I felt like my opinions and contributions were discarded or not considered.  I have always made it a point to listen to others.  Even when I do not agree with what is being said, I always make sure to hear what they have to say before responding.


How have your life experiences as a woman guided your decision to pursue a career in the legal field?  Did any women positively impact your decision?

I remember my high school math teacher told us there was a study conducted that demonstrated a decrease in the number of female students who would raise their hands and participate in class after middle school.  My math teacher challenged all  the female students to continue to raise their hands, question, challenge and actively participate in our education and in our world.  This resonated with me and challenged me to make sure that I would change the statistics.  By raising my hand, participating, and questioning, I realized I wanted to pursue a career that would continue my exploration of the world.  As a litigator I am constantly questioning how we can resolve a case and how we can better serve our clients.

My mom, aunts, and grandmothers all impacted my decision to become an attorney. Job choices were limited for them when they were growing up, and I knew that being an attorney was not just an accomplishment for me, but for all the women in my family.  I am always aware that my role as an attorney is a privilege.  I am where I am today because of the roads paved by other courageous women.  I am forever grateful for this opportunity.


What female mentors have inspired or influenced you and in what ways?

Tyson & Mendes partner Susan Oliver has been a true inspiration.  When I started at Tyson & Mendes, I was a mother to two very young children.  Susan is an accomplished attorney and well-respected in our firm as well as our legal community.  She told me that it was important to work hard, but never feel like I had to miss a baseball or softball game. Susan taught me to not only value my effort and time put into to my legal practice, but also the time spent with my family.  Watching Susan continue to be such an inspiration to all the members of our firm inspires me each day to work hard for my clients and always be present for my family.


Do you think it is important for women in this industry to prioritize supporting other women? How do you show your support for other women?

Yes.  Women should always support each other.  In a world where it is so easy to break each other down, we should always be looking for ways to build each other up.  I show my support for other women by giving back to my community through charitable efforts. In the workplace, I always support my colleagues by being encouraging and supportive.


Do you have any advice for women just starting out in their legal careers?

Always speak up for yourself and become your biggest advocate.  I think too often, we feel judged for speaking up for ourselves. When appropriate, make sure you discuss your achievements and accomplishments.


Tell us about your law practice at Tyson & Mendes.

My practice focuses on personal injury, professional liability, premises liability and general commercial liability.


What drew you to Tyson & Mendes?

The people.  If you want to know what is great about Tyson & Mendes, it’s the people. You feel part of a team.  You feel supported at all levels of the firm.


What is a fun fact about you that most people do not know?

I grew up dancing and continued dancing throughout law school.  I was a member of Syracuse Dance Team while in law school.




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