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Job Openings  

Have a question about working at Husch Blackwell?

Reach out to one of our recruiters.

Karen Fischer

Director of Legal Recruiting

Susan Early

Lateral Recruiting Manager

Emma Hearn

Lateral Recruiting Specialist

Ariane Moore

Lateral Recruiting Specialist

Christy Pashia

Strategic Recruiting Specialist

Related Industry:

Food & Agribusiness

Career Journey

A conversation with Emily Lyons.

Why did you choose food regulatory as your area of focus?

I grew up on a dairy farm and always knew I wanted to work on agricultural and environmental issues. Because I did not see very many legal advocates with an agricultural background, I knew this was an area in which I could leverage my knowledge and experience while making an impact. This background has been invaluable when working with food and beverage producers as they are asked more and more to provide transparency into their supply chains. But when I graduated, DC was the place I wanted to live and work, and trade associations had the immediate hands-on type of work I wanted to do right out of law school. I worked at the International Dairy Foods Association where I focused on a variety of regulatory schemes that dairy companies had to balance, including food safety and defense, labeling, marketing, product standards and environmental. I eventually moved to private practice to work directly with companies on these topics. While I’m not representing farmers directly very often, I have my roots firmly set in food and ag by working with others in the food chain. This area allows me to combine my passion for science with the law and help translate that for clients when having conversations with regulators.

Why have you chosen to make your career at Husch Blackwell?

It was an easy decision to join Husch Blackwell after meeting others on the team and getting to know the firm better. It did not hurt that my first mentor in private practice also had recently made the move to Husch Blackwell. I’ve stayed because of the opportunity to work with attorneys who have worked closely with the food and agricultural industry over the years. The deep client relationships and base in the industry as well as the firm’s entrepreneurial spirit have allowed me to strengthen existing client relationships and attract more clients because of our expertise in food regulation and enforcement.

What is one thing that makes Husch Blackwell special?

Many firms have great people, but I’ve never worked with this many attorneys at one place who are so talented and specialized. A client can come with any off-the-wall topic that they need help in and we have someone who can help without needing to do hours of research. I also think it’s the industry focus within Husch Blackwell that brings us to the same firm. We understand business, industries and the goals of individual companies. We truly are industry experts as well as legal experts within our particular practices.

Is there a matter you worked on involving your Food & Agribusiness area of specialty that you found particularly rewarding? 

A lot of clients see us as an extension of their internal team. For example, one client contact is taking an extended leave of absence. During this time, I’m taking over all inquiries in the food regulatory area. It’s rewarding to be seen as a trusted resource. I am working directly with the Food Safety and Marketing teams, and not just being funneled questions from in-house attorneys.

How has Husch Blackwell supported you in achieving work/life balance?

The firm, especially during COVID-19, has encouraged us to take time off when needed. Mental health is very important – there is a lot going on in the world. Having that encouragement and understanding that you sometimes need to take a step back is really appreciated. The firm also highly encourages us to visit attorneys in other offices when it’s safe to do so – and with our Midwest and California offices, I can plan to see family around those visits.

Describe any other support you have received at Husch Blackwell that has helped you in your career.

Unending support is the best way to put it. On the professional and business development side, as an associate I have a fairly large business development budget that can be used to attend conferences and visit current and potential clients. For items when I’ve used up my budget, the firm has been extremely receptive to providing additional funds if I see the business case for my practice. We also have a pretty great formal and informal mentor program. People here want to support my career even if I am working directly with them or their clients. Many want to make sure my home is with Husch Blackwell for forever and not just for the time being.

What is your advice for a new hire?

If you’re trying to build your practice, meet other attorneys at the firm outside of your home office. Don’t be afraid to talk about their clients, what you do and how you can help them. I get a lot of work from attorneys in other offices who funnel work within my purview that they might otherwise have had to refer outside the firm. Those people become your champions within the firm.

Also, speak up and ask questions! A mentor of mine once said, “I’m not paying you to be a potted plant” when I raised points following a client call. This really stuck with me to not be afraid to speak up, ask questions and express my opinion. It’s also really important a lot of the time to go a step beyond the work given. Do the critical thinking in the early stages to help out the attorneys who may not have the time to tell you all the little things you should think about for an assignment. This will help you anticipate client needs in the future. 
 

Key Contact

Job Openings  

Have a question about working at Husch Blackwell?

Reach out to one of our recruiters.

Karen Fischer

Director of Legal Recruiting

Susan Early

Lateral Recruiting Manager

Emma Hearn

Lateral Recruiting Specialist

Ariane Moore

Lateral Recruiting Specialist

Christy Pashia

Strategic Recruiting Specialist

Related Industry:

Food & Agribusiness

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