No Such Thing As a Typical Day Nor Straight Career Path to the Top: Tips and Tales from Four General Counsels and Partners
What do a paralegal, an MTV production assistant, a frustrated actress and a dancer have in common?
They are now highly successful lawyers working as partners in white shoe law firms or serving as general counsels to government agencies and companies.
Like their divergent backgrounds, their typical days are all different but they all share a love of the law and a respect for the career paths that led them to their jobs.
On the recent Women in Law Section webinar, “A Day In The Life: Personal Perspectives From General Counsels And Partners,” panelists Laurie Bigman, Tamala Boyd, Emily Johnson and Lois Liberman shared their perspectives on what it takes to excel, the paths one can follow and the challenges they have overcome.
When a career on the stage didn’t work out, Lois Liberman, partner at Blank Rome, felt that her next steps would be in the courtroom. Law school reaffirmed her love of the courtroom and she decided that she wanted to be in the New York City area. She interviewed for Legal Aid Society or prosecutor positions to get her desired courtroom experience. She clicked with the Nassau County Legal Aid Society and took a job in its Family Court Division.
“It was a significant heavy job, coming right out of law school, but I loved it and I had a group of individuals who I worked with and we were all part of a family in a way,” she said.
She got noticed and a judge recommended her to a matrimonial attorney in private practice who had just lost his paralegal and suggested he hire her as an associate. Upon the judge’s recommendation she was hired and she worked at that boutique matrimonial firm until she went to work with Stan Lotwin, a well-known matrimonial attorney at Tenzer Greenblatt, which later merged with Blank Rome in 2000. The bi-coastal matrimonial group now represents celebrities, politicians and high net worth individuals. She had found her voice in the small firm and gained momentum with the large firm. She is now part of the firm’s leadership and sits on its distribution committee.
A typical day for her involves problem-solving “all day long,” as well as being on Microsoft Teams with judges in the virtual age. She makes a daily goal of accomplishing three things, but considers it a good day when she completes one of those tasks. Even with the barrage of emails and calls, Liberman wouldn’t change it for the world. “I am a people person. This is what I do,” said Liberman. “I don’t know that I could ever be a transactional lawyer in the sense of just looking at contracts.”
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“No Such Thing As a Typical Day Nor Straight Career Path to the Top: Tips and Tales from Four General Counsels and Partners,” by Brandon Vogel was published by the New York State Bar Association on April 5, 2021.