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Member Spotlight: Cathy Stricklin Krendl

Cathy Stricklin Krendl

Member Spotlight: Cathy Stricklin Krendl Bunner

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What advice would you give young women who are torn between family obligations and the demands of the practice?

First, nothing works very well.  You will always feel inadequate as a mother and as a lawyer because you must divide your time between both.  I would have been miserable as a stay-at-home mom and needed the challenge of a career. 

Just do your best. Juggle as fast as you can and teach your children independence and responsibility.  Have them help with the chores at an early age.  Send them to an away camp during a couple of weeks during the summer so they can learn to be independent. Your children will be more responsible adults, and you can do the only thing that works—Survive!

Second, in dealing with your firm, especially small and-medium size ones, make sure you understand the economics and make sure you are profitable by the firm’s standards or have an expertise that is vital to its practice. If you want time to take your child to the doctor or attend one of their performances, work late to get urgent work done. If the senior partners give you time for a long vacation or special event, try to reciprocate by handling their work during their absence. This seems heartless. It may be.  However, if you want to succeed, I strongly believe this is the way to do it.

When did you first become a member of the ABA and why did you join?

I first became a member of the ABA when I was elected President of the Denver Bar.  I kept my membership over the years because of the excellent publications of the Business Law Section. I was not an active member because that required travel away from my family.  I limited travel to work travel until my daughters went to college.

Two years ago, I joined the Senior Lawyers Division because I wanted to share the heartbreaking things that I learned during my deceased lawyer-husband’s six-year struggle with Alzheimer’s. Jim Schwartz was kind enough to let me work with him and the Voice of Experience to design and present five webinars on the legal and other surprising issues a caregiver will face during the various phases of the dementia of a loved one. During that process, I enjoyed working with lawyers my own age and intend to continue to participate in that section.

What has been the highlight of your work with the ABA?

Working with the smart lawyers and other professionals in the five webinars on dementia.

If you had not become a lawyer, what do you think you would have done?

I would have taught political science and speech at the college level or coached a high school   debate team.  My grandmother was a teacher, my mother was a teacher, and my sister was a high school principal.  Teaching was the go-to profession in my family.

Tell us a little bit about your career

After graduating from Harvard Law School, I taught corporations, securities, and business planning at the University of Denver College of Law for 10 years.  I then joined my husband’s law firm, which became Krendl Krendl Sachnoff & Way, and practiced business law for over 30 years, emphasizing corporations, unincorporated entities, mergers and acquisitions, and securities law. As part of my practice, I counseled attorneys and directors, including directors of public corporations, on disclosure and corporate governance. During that time, also for over 30 years, I edited eleven books on Colorado law, including Colorado Methods of Practice published by Thomson Reuters and Closely Held Corporations in Colorado. I was very active in the Denver and Colorado Bar Associations, serving as the first woman elected President of the Denver Bar Association since World War II as well as chairwoman of the Business Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association. Once or twice a year, I served as an expert witness in state and federal courts on corporations, securities, and legal malpractice. I was consistently voted a Best Lawyer in Denver, Colorado, in Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Compliance, and Mergers and Acquisitions as well as a Super Lawyer in Business Law.

What has been the highlight of your career?

Handling mergers and acquisitions of medium size corporations that are purchased by large, public companies.

Having received the Cathy Stricklin Krendl Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Law that was named after me by the Colorado Bar Association’s Business Law Section that has been awarded every year since then to an outstanding Colorado business lawyer.  I am very honored to be in that group.

If you could go back to the beginning of your legal career, would you have done anything differently?

I would work for White & Case in New York for four years and would not practice law in Alaska for the first two years of my career.  I would have been the third woman at White & Case and could have learned so much by practicing corporate law with the amazing lawyers at that firm.

What advice would you give to someone considering law school today?

Try to think about what practicing law requires and whether you will actually enjoy it. In my experience, too many people go to law school because they don’t know what else to do when they graduate from college.  They don’t have the courses for medical school, and they don’t want to spend years writing a dissertation.  Then they discover when they graduate from law school with a boatload of debt that they hate practicing law. Not surprising.  The law is demanding and often requires you to represent unreasonable clients.  More frequently than you would like, you must work long hours at inconvenient times.

Inspired by Perry Mason and debate, I tried litigation for two years and hated every minute. I did not like arguing about a past event.  Then I tried business law and found that I loved the challenge of helping small and medium businesses from the beginning to the end, hopefully an acquisition.  The businesses didn’t always make it, but I was always learning new things from optimistic entrepreneurs.  

Don’t spend most of your life looking forward to vacations, rather than going to the office.