Cover Story

Katharine Pacella Costello

Age 35. Attorney, Egan, Flanagan, and Cohen, P.C.

There are two cases that stand out in Katherine Pacella Costello’s mind as defining moments in her career.

The first came relatively early, just six months after she signed on with the Boston law firm Pepe & Hazard. She was assigned to defend a lawyer accused of malpractice; the client was her boss. “It was my first major deposition, and very stressful,” she said. “Those were some the most grueling arguments ever.”

But when a 48-page decision was returned in her favor, Costello, who said she takes her cases personally enough to lose sleep, was able to rest on her laurels — though not for long. Soon, a second case landed on her desk, this one spanning six years of her career with Pepe & Hazard.

“There were many people involved, but I was the person who was there from beginning to end,” said Costello, now an associate with Egan, Flanagan, and Cohen of Springfield.

That case involved a power plant developer and a contractor, who disagreed — vehemently — regarding the terms of a $217 million construction agreement. After years of hearings, depositions, and mile-high stacks of paper had accumulated, Costello and her colleagues finally won that case, and the decision was affirmed on appeal. She heard the news while on maternity leave, having given birth to her daughter, Alessandra, now 3, in the thick of the proceedings.

Those personal victories validated Costello’s career choice, which she’d decided on by her teenage years, following the example of her father, also a lawyer.
Today, Costello’s career remains fast-paced, but she has a more robust home life, which has created a satisfying, yet delicate, balance. “My daughter is the light of my life,” she said, noting she has another baby on the way, due in June. “Children really change everything, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.”

She’s thrown herself into motherhood with the same fervor as she has her career, active as an event coordinator for a local mom’s club. She said she’s always been careful to choose employers who value the ability to lead a well-rounded life as much as she does, and that has augmented her success.

“One person cannot create that balance,” she said. “It has to be a group working together: employer, employee, family, community. As long as work and family are treated as equally important, I feel fulfilled.”