Attorneys Across America: Featuring Elizabeth Lash

From a tiny office in rural Alaska to a skyscraper in Manhattan, from The Sunshine State to The Prairie State, Ms. JD seeks to capture snapshots of successful women attorneys practicing law from sea to shining sea. Ms. JD had a few questions for Elizabeth R. Lash, Esq. who is the Assistant General Counsel at Kroll Associates, Inc. in New York, NY:

DISCLAIMER: These answers are provided by Ms. Lash in her personal capacity; the opinions are the author’s own, and do not reflect the view of Kroll Associates, Inc. or of its affiliates.

Where do you practice law? 

I work in midtown Manhattan (very exotic!).

Describe your legal market. What is the size of the market? How would you describe the culture?

New York, as most people would expect, is a highly competitive market. You can't go anywhere in Manhattan without tripping over a lawyer or two!

What are the industries that produce work for lawyers in your area? 

Well, it's New York...if you can imagine it, we probably have a few lawyers who specialize in it!

Describe your practice area.

I mainly negotiate contracts for cyber security and data breach services (but also occasionally for investigative services).  Since cyber security issues and data breaches can affect any company,  I see a wide variety of clients, and often have to tailor those contracts to address issues specific to their industries.  Healthcare, of course, has been hugely affected by recent data breaches, so I frequently review HIPAA agreements as well. 

How did you get started in this practice area? 

Just a stroke of luck!  In the past, I worked in the securities and commodities industries, but I think it helped that I came with previous (informal) experience in negotiating agreements.

Do you think your practice is different because of where you live? If so, in what way(s)? 

No—not surprisingly, contracts have to be signed to do business, no matter your location. 

What are good resources for women attorneys in your area?

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) has been invaluable to me as an in-house practitioner.  Particularly in the past, when I didn't necessarily have internal resources to turn to for guidance, other ACC members were very generous with their time and guidance.  I'm not sure I could have survived without my membership in that organization.

What has been your hardest day on the job?

As an attorney, you will face a lot of tough days throughout your career.  At a past position, some of the toughest days involved facing a room full of people who desperately wanted me on board with a project—and having to say no. Those are the type of days that can try your sanity.

 What has been your best day on the job?

Sometimes a simple "thanks" is all I need to make my day.  But winning big contracts that have been very hard-fought on both sides are the best days—after days of nail-biting, you finally hammer out every provision and the parties finally get to move forward and do business.

What advice do you have for women attorneys following in your footsteps?

Don't give up!  The best quality an attorney can have is persistence.  Beyond that, be patient and always try to understand the position of those whom you are counseling.  And of course, possessing a willingness to learn from everyone (the good and the bad), will help you go a long way towards accomplishing your goals.

Any additional stories, anecdotes, or thoughts on practicing in your practice area or location?

If you want to work in the data privacy/cyber security fields, consider joining the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), becoming a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP), and learning (and understanding) information technology (IT) terminology. Ultimately, though, I think success as an attorney depends on two simple things: never be afraid to ask for help, and always say thanks!

Elizabeth R. Lash, Esq., is the Assistant General Counsel at Kroll Associates, Inc., where she supports cyber security and data breach services businesses.  Among past positions, Ms. Lash served as in-house counsel for FXDirectDealer, LLC, a retail foreign exchange brokerage firm, and as a civil securities fraud prosecutor for the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.  

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