October 30, 2017

Nguyen quickly made a difference in Worcester

Edd Cote
AiVi Nguyen, partner, Bowditch & Dewey LLP.

The daughter of two Vietnamese refugees, AiVi Nguyen grew up in a household in Worcester where her parents couldn't speak English and had no familiarity with rites-of-passage such as applying to colleges. She grew up in public housing where the best influences weren't always around.

But Nguyen had help she feels now made her fortunate: teachers and others at Holy Name Central Catholic High School who guided her along the way. Combined with her parents' high standards for how well she performed in class, those efforts have led to the Ivy League and now a promising law career.

"All of their energy went into making sure I was successful," Nguyen said. "My parents were able to pay attention and know that they had to pay attention."

Leveraging her position to make a community impact

The 33 year old is a partner at the Worcester law firm Bowditch & Dewey – who, when she was 31, became the youngest in more than a century to get that title – and she has found ways to give back to the city where she grew up.

When she's not involved with business litigation cases, Nguyen serves on the city's Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee and Bowditch & Dewey's diversity committee, where she advocates for hiring of people of all backgrounds and an open-minded workplace. She's on the board of the United Way of Central Massachusetts and the arts group POW! WOW! Worcester, and has previously served on the Quinsigamond Community College board of trustees, among others.

Nguyen uses the positions to prioritize the importance of education.

"I was lucky to have mentors and teachers along the way," said Nguyen, who is energetic and demonstrative, bringing two cellphones to a midday interview to make sure she's on top of everything.

Last year, Nguyen received a YWCA of Central Massachusetts award for women who show professional achievement, dedication to social and racial equality and community involvement.

Worcester pride

Nguyen is a staunch supporter of her hometown. The city's smaller size enables her to make more of a difference, and Bowditch & Dewey's size compared to much larger Boston firms lets her become more of a leader, she said.

"The city is growing and changing," she said. "There's an opportunity to become a leader in the city earlier if you're interested."

Nguyen quickly impressed the leaders at Bowditch & Dewey, including Louis Ciavarra, a litigation attorney at the firm. Nguyen showed herself to be hard-working, committed to clients, a creative thinker and an aggressive litigator.

"She has been everything that you would want a mentee to be," said Ciavarra. "She really does present all of the qualities that you want from the next generation of leaders that you want at the firm and in the city."

Nguyen was a member of her high school mock trial team, getting an early sense of what she'd do for a career. She was attracted to the analytical way an attorney can pore through a case.

"From when I knew what a lawyer was, I wanted to be a lawyer," she said.

Read more about this year's Outstanding Women in Business:

Read about this year's judges

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