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"I grew up in a home where

  my parents encouraged me

  to pursue excellence and to

  eschew mediocrity, and I

  want my work product to

  be at the highest caliber

  regardless of the case size."

Background facts


What is your job title and what industry are you a part of?


I’m a lawyer. I am the managing principal of my firm, which I started almost six years ago and our niche is insurance coverage litigation. We represent businesses that are seeking help holding their insurance companies accountable. For instance, in a situation where an insurance company is not doing what the policyholder expects the insurance company to do, we are engaged to handle a coverage analysis to determine whether the insurance company should be doing more, and to fashion a plan for maximizing the policyholders recovery, helping them get the benefit of their bargain under the insurance policy. Most of our clients are businesses and for the most part we handle commercial insurance, directors and officers liability, professional liability, errors of omissions, cyber, general liability (which is the most common type of business insurance out there), property issues, and commercial auto. It’s fun!

How did you become interested in practicing law?



How did you get into this area of practice?


During the 12 years that I worked for a

national law firm based in New York, I

developed a niche in insurance coverage

litigation, but that was really not a niche for

that firm. I hired a business coach to help me

with business development and it was

definitely a turning point for me.



What excites you about your field now?


Insurance companies have a regular need for lawyers to advise them on their obligations under a policy and whether there are defenses to coverage that will excuse them from their obligations. The result of that sustained and ongoing need is that the lawyers who represent insurance companies are extremely well developed and have a steady flow of work from the insurance.


On the policyholder side, there are some firms and lawyers who have a great deal of experience in insurance coverage litigation, but when corporations figure out that they have a coverage problem, they often turn to their regular commercial litigation people. So business litigation lawyers find themselves handling all manner of commercial disputes for their clients. It is less common for corporate insurance to find experienced coverage counsel who practice only in that niche, and therefore know a lot of the nuances of that type of practice.


There is a need for this type of representation where your lawyer understands why the insurance company is making the decisions it’s making, and knows how to persuade an insurance company to change their mind if possible. And in the situation where you can’t reach an agreement, has the expertise to litigate the case. I appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of a complex insurance coverage case. It is the perfect mix of nerdy analytics and litigation, and I enjoy both.


Who or what do you believe has been the strongest influence of your work?


I grew up in a home where my parents encouraged me to pursue excellence and to eschew mediocrity, and I want my work product to be at the highest caliber regardless of the case size. It is probably is one of the most defining attributes and one of the things most important to me.


Also, Rick Nelson, one of my mentors at Gardere, is a very smart and incredibly talented advocate. He helped shape my client service perspective with the notion that it’s our job to make our clients’ lives easier, whether that’s being responsive to an email with a random question that doesn’t have anything to do with their case, or doing heavy research for a spontaneous meeting. That is how we market professional services, by demonstrating that we are here to help clients.





Dress code


How do you determine what you're going to wear to work each day? Do you have a typical work look?


My personal style is pretty simple, but I have two work looks. I have my “I have to see people today” work look and I also have my, “I’m not seeing anyone today and I’m trying really hard to get a lot done” look. Comfort is very important to me, so I’m not much of a suit person. I tend to buy jackets and sweater-type things that look jacket-ish, so I can get by without a suit unless I’m in court. If I’m in court I will wear a suit, but if I’m not, jackets and pants are fine.


Do you wear skirts?



So even when you wear a suit, it’s a pantsuit.



Heels or flats?



Where do you shop for your work wardrobe, and when do you find the time?



How does that work? Do you just call when you need something?


I know that they help with selection, but do they help with the actual fitting?



So what are your go-to brands? Do you find yourself with a go-to brand for clothes or accessories?


What about for accessories? Do you have certain brands that you tend to gravitate towards?



What type of daily tote/bag do you use and what is inside?



What is something that you wear that instills more confidence on days when you don't quite feel yourself?



Lipstick or lip gloss?



What is the most important part of your beauty routine that you feel helps complete your look?



What's your mani/pedi style?


Is there a particular hair product that you always use?



Let's talk about your jewelry - your go-to pieces.






Daily commute


What do you do in the morning that helps

you prepare for the day ahead?


By what means of transportation do you use to get to your office and to your meetings in town?


Do you have a favorite song, artist, or playlist that you listen to on your way to work or even in your office?






What is your morning office routine?


I usually check email first, and check in with

my receptionist to see what's going on, if I'm

coming into the office. I don't schedule early

meetings in the office, because I need to

have a little bit of time to get my priorities

set for the day. I'll do it at a client's request,

but I don't schedule my own meetings

before 10am.


What does your typical workday look like?



What essentials do you have when you meet with clients?



How do you handle job-related stress?


It's running. It keeps me sane. I also have a close group of girlfriends and we share war stories and provide confidential support. I can call them in the middle of the day and say, "Can you grab a coffee?" or "Can I just have five minutes? I need to talk to you about this situation." So, yes, the girlfriend group is key.


It's so Lipstick Jungle of you.


Yes! (Laughs) So true!


What are some of your work pet peeves?


I can't even finish reading a document full of typos, misspelled words, and incomplete sentences. I will absolutely freeze up. I’m also sensitive to bad formatting and font usage. It can distract me from being able to read the substance. I think it’s just the (self-diagnosed) ADD in me.


What is your happiest moment at work?


My happiest types of moments are the times when I realize the strength of our team. The team is multi-dimensional and it gives me the greatest sense of pride and makes me the happiest because we have people who are strong in areas that I’m not. It takes so much pressure off of me that I don't have to do the firm budget or manage payables, for example, because there are people here who handle those areas and are really good at them.


My niche is directors and officers' liability and management liability insurance, and so we have people who are really good at construction insurance, commercial auto issues, and general liability. I know a lot of that law so I could handle those types of cases, but I have a different niche where I'm the happiest and we have people here who are better than I am at those other areas. I am very thankful for that and it's working really well.





Desk drawer


How would you describe your office space?


What were some of the challenges you faced with the design of your office space?



Do you have anything on your wish list for your office décor?


What would you say is your favorite office

supply and why?


How do you organize your desk space?



What is a work tool that's a must-have for

you (app, hardware or software)?



How do you prioritize and manage your email inbox?







What is your secret to achieving your daily objectives?



On your laptop, what program do you use to

take your notes?



What is your method for networking?


What advice have you received in your professional life that has really stuck with you?


Do you have a work motto?







What do you do during your downtime to refresh and recharge yourself?


Spending time with my kids and my friends is my biggest priority. My standing nail appointment is also very important to me. I've been going to Nordstrom for about six months and I go to the same person every time. We chat and the atmosphere is great. So that is definitely more than just walking out with my nails done. It is like a recharge time for me, a sanity-preserving thing. Running and personal training fall into that same category. Running is not new for me, but personal training is, and both are big recharge opportunities.


What currently has your fascination?


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