I started my career at a large law firm doing corporate transactions, mergers and acquisitions and securities work, however, I eventually moved out of the law firm setting, and moved in-house. Today, I serve as an in-house corporate generalist practicing corporate law, transactions, employment law and compliance and ethics.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
When I started practicing in-house, I was only needed to offer my specific legal expertise. These days however, I am also providing input in matters dealing with the overall business strategy of the ABA. This has required my and other in-house counsel to expand their areas of “expertise”. My job requires me to be current in multiple legal areas and technology, more so than was ever needed before.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Know what you know and know what you do not know. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you do not know. Asking the right questions is central to being a good advisor/attorney. Attorneys must be smart, but we cannot and do not know everything. With the dawn of the internet, there is far too much information available for anyone to be a subject-matter expert. It is imperative that we seek help from others in order to better serve our clients and ourselves.
What’s one technological device, application or tool you could not function without?
I am going old school here – it’s the telephone (not just the smart phone). Many times a conversation is the most appropriate method of communication – for legal and business reasons.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
I regularly conduct internal investigations in my practice and work on disciplinary matters. These matters are even more difficult when one is in-house and must continue to interact with individuals as colleagues. By treating people with dignity and respect, and not assuming the worst on the front end, I have preserved business relationships with my colleagues. People who I have investigated have commented positively to me on the manner in which I treated them.
What do you do for fun?
In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis, running, dining out, and reading fiction. I also enjoy experiencing various forms of the arts and culture like museums, galleries, plays, comedy clubs, independent and foreign film.
Lauren Robinson serves as the Deputy General Counsel for the American Bar Association