Top Women in Law—Laura Vendzules
Blank Rome LLP Partner Laura Vendzules was named one of the 2016 “Top Women in Law” by The Legal Intelligencer. A profile of Ms. Vendzules was published in the The Legal's Top Women in Law supplement on November 15, 2016. To read the full list of profiles, please click here.
Vendzules joined Blank Rome in 2013, and now serves as co-chair of the firm’s consumer finance litigation practice group, consisting of nearly 70 attorneys based throughout the firm’s offices. She also serves as Blank Rome’s class action defense team co-chair. Additionally, she serves as a career development advisor for younger attorneys at the firm, is a member of the women’s forum, and often informally mentors other women attorneys.
Vendzules has more than 25 years of experience in complex commercial litigation matters in state and federal courts. She advises clients and litigates cases involving contract disputes, fraud and other business torts, director and officer liability, shareholder, partnership and special litigation committee issues, defamation, and media law and health care matters.
What career path would you have pursued if you weren’t a lawyer?
A chef. I still dream about owning my own restaurant.
Name a mentor or someone you admire.
Sheryl Auerbach, my former partner and dear friend. More than 25 years ago, when I was a young associate and she was my mentor, she was the epitome of the aggressive litigator and didn’t really care that some thought that was not an appropriate role for a woman.
What is the best advice you ever got?
After a loss in some legal battle, Bruce Kauffman (another mentor and a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice and retired United States District Judge) would tell us: “It’s not fingers and toes.” That really put things in perspective and underscored that even the most dedicated lawyers need to realize that the health and wellbeing of family and friends is paramount.
In 50 words or less, what does the legal profession need to do to improve opportunities for women lawyers?
I firmly believe that the primary issue is retention. Law firms seem to be able to attract talented women lawyers—they just can’t retain them. It really will require a fundamental change coming from the top. Firm leadership needs to believe that keeping women lawyers, promoting them to leadership roles and exposing them to potential new clients—not just inviting that same male partner that gets invited to every client development opportunity—are worthwhile goals. Unless women are given a chance to advance, the result is going to be the status quo.
What’s the one piece of advice would you give someone when dealing with a crisis?
Follow your heart. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.