Mona Ma ’11 was initially exposed to the work of lawyers while working as a translator in China, translating documents, including contracts, between Chinese and English. The idea she developed while working on those translations was the seed that eventually became a successful career half at world away.
“While translating contacts back in China, I was thinking it was good I am able to translate this, but it would be better if I could draft the documents,” explained Ma.
Ma was raised in China and attended Shijiazhuang University of Economics, where she studied foreign languages, literatures and linguistics. While working she met her future husband, an American overseas on a long-term work assignment. Ma joined him when he returned to the United States, and when looking for a new career, law became an enticing option.
Ma started by working as a legal assistant at Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LPA, a Cleveland-based immigration firm. Looking for a greater challenge, Ma decided to pursue law school and attend Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
After graduation, Ma accepted a position as associate attorney at Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, where she had spent a summer as an associate during law school. At Calfee, she does transaction work in a variety of areas including corporate acquisitions, health care, public finance and commercial law. Transactional law was always in the cards for Ma, as the nature of the work fits her mild-mannered personality.
“I was always interested in doing transactional work, even before going into law school,” said Ma. “Litigation is adversarial – someone always wins and someone loses – whereas transactional work is mainly collaborative, where we get to work together instead of against each other.”