Owning Your Own Style: A Conversation with Lauren DwyerMarch 12, 2021
Lauren Dwyer serves as Counsel to Hinckley Allen’s Litigation group, where she focuses on complex business litigation and white-collar criminal defense. She represents businesses, executives, employees, and licensed professionals in civil and criminal matters, as well as internal investigations, in a variety of sectors, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, assisted living, and accounting. She has particular expertise in defending licensed professionals in board disciplinary proceedings and advising law firms and other partnerships. Here, Lauren tells us about her path to Hinckley Allen and why leading with your own style is key to being a successful lawyer.
HA: Tell us about your path to Hinckley Allen.
LD: After graduating from Boston College Law School, I clerked for Nancy Gertner, a federal judge in Massachusetts, working on a wide range of civil and criminal cases. Judge Gertner is a brilliant lawyer and judge and I had the opportunity to spend a year in the courtroom watching some of the best lawyers in Boston. It was a great way to start a career as a litigator. Since then I have worked in private practice, first at Foley Hoag and since 2008 at Barrett & Singal. I was excited to join the Hinckley Allen team at the start of this year. I have always been lucky to work with great lawyers and have a diverse practice.
HA: It sounds like you had quite a rewarding experience clerking for The Honorable Nancy Gertner (ret.). What are some of the lessons you learned from her?
LD: The importance of being the most prepared person in the room, of knowing every aspect of your case, and being a constant advocate for your client. As a judge, she also exemplified how important courtesy and empathy are in the legal profession, in addressing counsel, parties to a case, and particularly criminal defendants with respect. In a courtroom, everyone should be treated equally and know that they have been heard. That is equally important when you are representing a client who is relying on you to know everything about their business and their current challenges to fight for them.
HA: What does your work today at Hinckley Allen comprise?
LD: My practice has always focused on business litigation and white-collar criminal defense. I represent businesses in a variety of industries, handle complex family business disputes, and defend individuals in civil and criminal investigations. Working with licensed professionals has always been a big part of my practice. I’m on the Boston Bar Association’s Ethics Committee, served as General Counsel to my former firm, and I continue to advise lawyers and law firms, among other professionals.
HA: What are some of the most exciting cases you’ve worked on?
LD: What I love most about being a litigator is helping people at what is often the worst moment of their lives—when they are accused of wrongdoing or trying to address a critical business dispute. The best cases are often the ones I have resolved without anyone knowing they ever happened. It’s great to have a significant courtroom victory, but I am happiest when I can help a client reach the best solution for their business or in their professional life in the most efficient way possible to protect their reputation and foster their ultimate goals.
HA: Who are your female role models?
LD: Eleanor Roosevelt has always been a role model. (my daughter’s name is Eleanor, actually.) She did incredible work to help people at a time when roles like that weren’t open to women—and she was successful because she did things in her own way. There’s enormous power in leading in a way that works for you. In the legal world, women often feel pressure to fit a certain mold. I actually don’t think that’s the most effective way to accomplish a client’s goals. You don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to be effective at what you do.
HA: What does female representation in the legal world mean to you and how can firms achieve it?
LD: When it’s your job to persuade someone, whether it be a government agency, a judge or a jury, you want as many perspectives on your team as possible to best represent your client. Clients also want to see that firms are succeeding at creating and promoting a diverse workforce. They look at how many women are on your team and how many women hold leadership positions in your organization when deciding what they want the firm they hire to look like.
To provide women with the most opportunities to succeed, especially younger women and men balancing family responsibilities, firms need to be flexible. This year we have all seen our coworker’s messy kitchens, we’re working with kids yelling in the background, and I think people are finally recognizing that we’re all dealing with a lot behind the curtain. I am hopeful that, coming out of the pandemic, leaders understand that their employees can still be successful if they keep different hours, work remotely, or work less during certain chapters of life. Firms can retain all of their hires—not just women—by supporting and encouraging them to take a flexible approach to meet the demands of their jobs.