Think Like A Lawyer, Act Like A Lawyer

Think Like A Lawyer, Act Like A Lawyer

julia_home4-375x500I have been a lawyer since I was 23 years old, so naturally, I think like a lawyer. But I only realized that recently. I thought I was pretty clever, not like my law firm colleagues, but someone who had business and “real world” experience.

At 24 I worked for Mayor White of Boston at the Parkman Center for Urban Affairs in a private townhouse. During heated political times I had to literally step over TV reporters camped out on the doorsteps. I created an energy saving program for the City and its residents, but most memorable for me was working with the Mayor on his speeches. It was a thrill to hear him speaking my words!

I met his friends: Mayor Lindsay of New York and Congressman Peter Rodino, of the Watergate hearings. With the Mayor as mentor, I learned about politics. A friend who worked at the Center hired a painter, her boyfriend. It went to bid but the process leaned in his favor. Who would think a Mayor would notice? Well, he did: why wouldn’t she use someone she knows over a stranger? Why indeed. At least I had a better understanding of patronage.

As an antitrust attorney for the Federal Trade Commission, I was the on-air liaison for consumer affairs on Boston TV. I took a year off to model/act in New York, Boston, and Memphis. I was in a fashion shoot for Ladies Home Journal as well as in many print, TV, and radio ads (e.g., Spaulding Tennis, Gilbey’s Gin, Raytheon, and AT&T). I still laugh thinking of the tourists clicking away while I posed in the cordoned-off Rockefeller Plaza for the cover of Mature Health: they thought I was someone famous!

My areas of legal expertise are corporate law; litigation; non-competition and confidentiality agreements; contracts; and piercing the corporate veil.

model julie BU

AP picture, incorrect caption: I was a law student, diligently studying outside a hall occupied by protesters

A few more things about me as a lawyer: I never lost a case I was involved with; I beat records set by F. Lee Baily in my law school; I won a prestigious national award for achieving the highest grade in a class; I am a certified mediator; and I am very comfortable with litigation and contracts.

I’ve always helped friends with their legal affairs, whether it was a real estate contract, a family member’s non-compete, or litigation that had soured—whatever, I enjoyed using my legal expertise to help others.

Eventually, I realized that I did think like a lawyer. I knew how to avoid litigation and at the same time be ready for it, how to prepare for depositions, how to negotiate a contract, how to document dealings in a pleasant, non-threatening way —in short, lots of helpful things for non-lawyers.

This became even clearer when I married my husband, a small business owner. I set up his company’s policies and procedures that helped things run smoothly from a legal perspective. I mediated disputes to everyone’s satisfaction and even got a frivolous lawsuit dismissed on the strength of my well-written brief.

My longest position was Chief Legal Counsel to a large company with Fortune 1000 customers. I loved the breadth of work and experience in corporate law. It ran the gamut from orchestrating big litigation to preparing executives for trials and depositions, and instructing them on legal issues like employment law. There were lots of real estate contracts to review because we owned or rented real estate in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Non-competition and confidentiality agreements were another big part of my position.

I supervised a six-month trial during which opposing lawyers spent two weeks fighting over whether my conversations with my client, the corporate executives, were privileged. Corporate attorney privilege was not covered by a statute but established through case law or precedent. My strategy succeeded: my work product was upheld as privileged.

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Martha’s Vineyard, Aquinnah Beach

Another fascinating legal issue was litigated in that trial: whether the corporate parent could be held liable for its largest subsidiary (of which I was Chief Legal Counsel) and we won on that; in fact, we won the whole case, which made the front page of the largest legal newspaper in the country. I formed such a bond with the outside counsel and all the players in our company!

I had a lot of power for a young lawyer that I would never have found in a law firm. Every year the company awarded Exceptional Employees, and I was a winner every time. The money was great but the recognition and acknowledgment was the best part of it.

I’ve had lots of fun in law over the years, and in my law blogs I’ll share my experiences and observations, and perhaps demystify the law and lawyers. BUT PLEASE UNDERSTAND I WON’T BE GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

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