Mary Jane (Groff, '99) Judy

Shareholder and Co-Office Managing Partner
Polsinelli

Mary Jane is a shareholder in Polsinelli’s Real Estate group where she handles transactions related to commercial real estate. As the co-office managing partner, she oversees the firm's civic engagement, political involvement and office culture.


Get to Know Mary Jane

What talent would you most like to have? 
To be able to sing

What living person do you most admire?
My mother, Martha Groff

Favorite fictional character?
Moira Rose (Schitt’s Creek)

Favorite musical group?
Abba

What is your most treasured possession?
Our dog, Susan

What is your favorite pastime?
Cooking

What interested you in a career in real estate law?
In law school I knew I preferred transactional work over litigation. During my summer internship at Polsinelli in 2005, I found I enjoyed working with people in the real estate group, and the rest is history.

What's the greatest challenge you've faced in your role?
Dealing with COVID-19 has been the greatest challenge for myriad reasons. In addition to transitioning the firm to a work-at-home environment, we had to find creative ways to keep people engaged. We’ve also had to carefully consider how we will work in the future.

What prepared you most for this position?
“Growing up” as a lawyer at Polsinelli and the relationships I’ve forged with my partners and colleagues ultimately was the best preparation. This gave me a unique understanding of our values and culture, which have remained largely the same over time despite growing from 200 lawyers when I started in 2006 to more than 900 today.

What has been the greatest success?
Professionally, it’s hard to identify one specific transaction as most significant. On one end of the spectrum is helping a small business owner in our community make his dream a reality; on the other end is representing a Fortune 100 corporation in a nearly $3 billion real estate transaction. That variety keeps it interesting.

Personally, my husband and I take great pride in teaching our four young boys the value of service and charity.

What advice do you have for women who aspire to become leaders in their fields?
First, be true to yourself and your personality! In my law practice, I prefer a friendly approach. That said, it’s also critical to know when to advocate hard for your client, even if you’re intimidated by it. Those experiences build, and pretty soon it becomes second nature. The more challenges and wider variety of experience you get, the easier those high-pressure situations will become.

What quality do you most admire in a woman leader?
Tenacity

What is your leadership style?
Collegial