Women's Leadership InitiativeQ&A with Kristen Lawrence

Kristen Lawrence is an associate in the firm’s Corporate Department. She focuses her practice in health care, securities, and mergers & acquisitions.

What is the best advice you’ve received about how to be a successful attorney?

I received the best advice on how to be a successful attorney as an undergraduate student: find a support system. I am the first attorney in my family, and the first to work in a corporate environment. I was told that navigating these firsts at the same time would be challenging and I wouldn’t learn how to do it in law school. Then, I was told that after I jump that hurdle, a different set of challenges will arise. I needed to find a group of people who were willing to support me on the road to being a successful corporate attorney, because knowing the law or being the smartest person in the room won’t cut it.

What advice would you give to women just starting out at a law firm?

Always be yourself. Too many of the messages I received to prepare me for working at a law firm involved conforming to an image of someone who does not look like me and has a different background than me. Not only is it an unfair expectation, but it’s impossible! I want women starting out at a law firm to know that there is so much value and power in diversity, and to shut down the notion that the backgrounds and life experiences we bring to the table prevent us from being successful attorneys.

Complete the sentence: “If I wasn’t an attorney, I would be a…”

Social worker. There are so many vulnerable people in our communities who need advocates, and social workers have a full-time opportunity to connect vulnerable people with resources that will help them grow and flourish.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

I credit much of my good fortune and many of my accomplishments to the formal and informal mentors I’ve had not just at Porter Wright, but in all of the stages of my life that have led me to today. None of us have it all together, but in receiving guidance from people who are diverse in background, thought, experiences, and perspectives, I am being molded into a person who is more prepared to take on the challenges of being an attorney.

Tell us about your favorite thing to do outside of work.

I am really passionate about music, so if I’m not singing, I’m looking for new artists to listen to or checking out live music. I grew up playing the violin, clarinet, and piano, but I’ve got a renewed interest in playing again and I’m thinking the saxophone or guitar next!