Harter Secrest & Emery LLP
Years in current role: 6
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It is hard to narrow this to a single thing. I feel passionately about our 240 teammates and our clients, and every day I look forward to the challenge of leading an organization that has its priorities set in the right place. I have seen our firm grow and evolve over my nearly 30 years here, as the industry has evolved, but the type of people who put down roots at HSE and work to serve our clients’ interests has not changed. Probably what I enjoy most is the day-to-day balance of trying to run a large business responsibly and effectively, serving clients diligently, and looking to make decisions that are consistent with our values and unique culture.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
Dealing with the pandemic was of course the biggest challenge our firm and the industry faced last year, and that brought with it all sorts of unique things to think about ranging from technology to people. We went into this clear-eyed and with a view that we would prioritize taking care of our people and taking care of our clients during the most uncertain, uncharted times any of us had ever experienced. I think the focus on those priorities led to good decisions and in many ways we are a stronger organization as a result.
What advice would you give law students who are graduating this year?
For those looking to go into private practice, I would tell them that there are a lot of excellent law firms and lawyers out there, and no one has the market cornered on good lawyering. Look to align yourself with people who share your values, and a firm where you can thrive and be an important contributor, and where you can be happy building a long-term career. Be open to types of practice that you may not have considered — there may be areas of the law where you can thrive that you have not been exposed to or considered. And when you make mistakes (and you will), own them and learn from them.