Contact — Donna Lazarus
How would you describe the firm culture at Schulte?
Schulte is a relaxed place — from jeans and bagels on Fridays to open office doors to the sound of guffaws everywhere — there is a comfortable, friendly feeling throughout the hallways. I find that the relative youth of the firm translates to a more casual work style and more creative lawyering. My favorite part of the culture, though, is the value placed on humor. I can honestly say that I laugh every day at Schulte.
What attracted you to the firm?
I was attracted to the unique, substantive work that the Employment & Employee Benefits Group does at Schulte. I was interested in education law and was thrilled to discover it was a niche practice here. I had the opportunity to rotate through the department as a summer associate, which gave me a real sense of how the department functions and the personalities of the attorneys. I liked that all the attorneys I met at Schulte were comfortable being themselves. A friend recently asked me how my work persona differs from my non-work persona. I struggled with an answer because I truly feel like I am my authentic self at work.
Tell us about your involvement with the Associate Committee. How has that allowed you to make an impact?
The Associate Committee gives me the ear of the decision makers at the firm. It’s been rewarding to watch something go from an idea or a concern of the associates to a new policy, initiative or perk at the firm. As a senior attorney, more junior associates often come to me with their thoughts and, rather than just empathize with them, I can actually bring their thoughts to the Associate Committee and brainstorm solutions. Being on the Associate Committee makes me feel invested in the firm’s success as well as the morale of my peers.
Can you describe the guidance you received on your path from associate to special counsel?
The co-heads of my department encouraged me to work hard, to engage with a variety of senior attorneys, both in my department and throughout the rest of the firm, and to continue focusing on the parts of the practice I gravitated towards. I was provided opportunities to speak at conferences, engage directly and substantively with clients and establish a name for myself within my niche. I was also fortunate to have other special counsel at the firm share their knowledge and insights on the process. I’ve grown up professionally at Schulte and I am grateful to continue my path here.