How did you become involved with the ABA?
I have been a member of the ABA since law school but was not actively involved until I moved to Birmingham and began working at Burr Forman. Ginger Busby, the partner I worked with at the firm and my mentor, was actively involved in TIPS. Ginger had me appointed to a few committees, and then when I participated in the TIPS Leadership Academy, I became very active in TIPS.
What is the benefit of a new lawyer becoming active with the ABA?
There are several benefits to being active in the ABA. You meet and really get to know lawyers all over the country, which is a great referral source and a great way to find local counsel (and experts) if you handle matters outside of the jurisdiction where you live. Being active in TIPS helps you stay up on current trends and issues in the practice of law and your substantive area of the law. I have also made lifelong friends in TIPS, especially through the Leadership Academy.
What early career practices led to your success?
I would try to take ownership of the project or case I was working on. I would think ahead to what the partner or senior associate may need next on that case (be proactive) and communicate with the partner to make sure they had everything they needed and what else I could do to help them. I also knew the documents really well on any case I handled because the person who knows the documents is the most important person on the case.
What is your advice for dealing with difficult partners, colleagues, or counsel?
Don’t be afraid of them. Be assertive but respectful. In regards to “difficult” partners, make sure you know their expectations and give them sufficient time to review a draft motion, coverage opinion, etc. so that they can review it and have time to send it to the client for review before it needs to be filed or sent out. If you show that you are trying to meet their expectations, they are usually no longer “difficult”.
What gives you the most satisfaction?
Spending time with my kids! In regards to work, I get the most satisfaction out of working hard on a case to get it to a point where we can get a good result for the client, whether it be winning a motion to dismiss or summary judgment or resolving the case.