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International Women's Day: Local law firm owner empowers, fights for gender equality

Posted at 8:38 PM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 23:39:21-05

HENDERSON (KTNV) — Henderson law firm owner, Rena McDonald, said having her own practice has been no walk in the park.

McDonald said her most significant obstacle to finally own McDonald Law Group was having to deal with gender and pay inequality.

"I just kept fighting, kept pushing forward and that's part of the reason why I opened my own law firm," she said.

The Nevada native said when she began her career in law working long hours and was the first one to arrive at the office and the last one to leave.

"I would go in at 7:30 a.m. and at 10 p.m. if I wasn't still there I would be in trouble as other male associates that hadn't been there as long as I was weren't expected to keep the same hours - that was incredibly difficult," McDonald said.

She also said she learned her male co-workers had been receiving bonuses, while she wasn't.

"It was purely based on their gender. It wasn't based on any kind of work performance or anything else so you know they were hanging out with the bosses after work and getting cocktails, while I'm still at the office doing work," McDonald said.

Although for McDonald, the hard work has paid off, including for her staff, as Michelle Graham has also followed in her footsteps.

"When she opened her own practice, I came with her. She's such an inspirational person, she is amazing, she is a hard worker, but she's also a bleeding heart," Graham said.

McDonald was nominated as one of the top one hundred lawyers in Las Vegas in 2019.

She told 13 Action News much has changed since years ago, but many women continue to fight gender and pay inequality.

"Women have to support each other and to build each other up; you don't have to break each other down to make yourself better," McDonald said.

Friday's International Women's Day theme was Balance for Better.

Rena said it's time men see and understand that women can be better at things they once thought they could only do.