Since my childhood I have had a strong independent streak and a healthy sense of ambition. While I have not generally had long-term goals in the nature of achieving a specific goal within a specific number of years, I have had a competitive desire to excel and a strong sense of purpose. I believe my success has been enabled by an ethic of hard work and fairness and a strongly held conviction in the cultural tenets of Latham, fueled by team loyalty and team accomplishments.
I have worked with many fabulous professionals at Latham and with talented executives at clients and former employers. I have not had a singular role model, but instead feel that my style and approach is a combination of traits I’ve seen in others over the course of my professional and personal life, combined with my own personality. It is critical to be comfortable in your own skin as a manager—to be genuine—thus I put that trait first in my list of traits needed to succeed. Fortunately I believe that in current times, professionals can and indeed should feel liberated from needing to conform to formal, managerial stereotypes—I have seen this trend firsthand in Silicon Valley.
In being a leader of a professional services firm I have drawn upon some of the same traits as I did to develop my transactional legal practice. Other traits that I value are listening with an open mind, empathizing, understanding issues from different perspectives, accentuating the positive, staying ethically conscious, and being humble and willing to laugh at oneself. At the same time, one must also be self-assured and strong minded, holding a position firmly as necessary.
We live in a dynamic professional environment with interesting challenges ahead—have fun with them.
What does it take to succeed and stay competitive in your position/field?
To be a successful lawyer, one must first and foremost be dedicated to client service. In a large law firm focusing on complex major transactions, critical cases, and other important legal advice, this means building smart, creative, and diverse teams who know the client’s business, and managing the team with a constant focus on excellence, creativity, and winning.
To remain competitive with clients, the team must deliver valuable services to the client, staying abreast of developments in the law as well as trends in the market. A client’s problem should be owned by the team; the team’s focus and priority must be solving that problem.
To remain competitive for legal talent, the law firm must enjoy a reputation for high quality and interesting legal work while providing exceptional training and promoting a collegial work environment with an atmosphere of trust and respect.