Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Griffin ’19L Lauren Griffin is an associate at Alston & Bird LLP, working in the Intellectual Property Litigation group based in the Charlotte, North Carolina office.
Lauren Griffin ‘19L grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2014, where she majored in Biochemistry. Before attending law school, Lauren worked as a scientist at Millipore Sigma and attended St. Louis University, where she obtained her masters in Cell and Molecular Regulation. In law school, Lauren was a summer associate at the law firm of Alston & Bird LLP, where she currently works as an associate in the Intellectual Property Litigation group based in the Charlotte, North Carolina office. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Murphy and Maggie, and playing golf with her husband.
Discuss your career path and how it led you to working in Intellectual Property at Alston & Bird.
Being a lawyer never crossed my mind until my junior year of college when I participated in the Biochemistry Industry Tour at Mizzou. Each year at Mizzou a small group of biochemistry students would travel to a different city and visit various life sciences companies. My year was Indianapolis, and among the companies was Eli Lilly. At Eli Lilly we spoke with their patent department, and it really piqued my interest—I could use my life sciences background and still have a corporate-type job. From that experience on, I focused on going to law school and becoming a patent attorney.
Fast forward to my first year of law school, I attended the Loyola Patent Interview Program in Chicago. This is an annual event where all the big patent firms go to recruit their incoming classes. I immediately hit it off with a W&L alum from Alston & Bird that was there recruiting for the firm. As they say, the rest is history. Alston & Bird’s culture and caliber of work fit exactly what I was looking for, and Alston has a very collegial culture, like W&L.
What sort of legal issues do you handle on a day-to-day basis?
My primary practice is patent litigation, which means most of my cases are claims of patent infringement. Because I’m in litigation, my day-to-day is never the same, and my job responsibilities are wide ranging. My day can range from drafting and responding to discovery requests, to drafting summary judgment briefings, and to prepping witnesses and experts for trial. For example, today I am drafting a direct examination for a trial we have next month while also working on drafting an appeal brief.
What do you like about your current job?
I like that litigation is fast paced, challenging, and that no day is the same. I am constantly learning new skills and areas of technology. What I specifically like about my job at Alston & Bird is the people and the culture. Alston has some of the kindest and most hard-working attorneys that I have met. The partners that I work for are consistently looking for new opportunities for me and give me substantial roles in my cases despite being a junior attorney. For example, I have managed cases from start to finish, taken numerous depositions, argued several different motions in Federal Court, and even had a witness at a bench trial. These early experiences are not something that is very common at most “big law” firms.
Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for this job?
For classes, the litigation-based classes were the most helpful. This includes Civil Procedure (which I have now come to love), Evidence, and Trial Advocacy. Civil Procedure is definitely a tough class as a first year, but it is the class that I use the most. In my role, I am expected to know the Federal and local rules of procedure and advise the team on those rules.
For experiences, I was super involved at W&L Law. The most helpful experiences were participating in all of the Moot Court and Mock Trial experiences W&L has to offer and getting involved in the various student organizations, such as the Student Bar Association. Being in litigation means being able to think on your feet and work as a team. These experiences helped me develop my speaking and teamwork skills.
What advice do you have for prospective law students?
If you’re thinking of attending law school, do it—especially if you’re thinking of attending W&L Law. There is so much you can do with your law degree, and the three years it takes to get there are worth it. I would encourage you even more to attend W&L. W&L is small, which is among its greatest strengths, and has a tight-knit alumni network. Without this network I’m not sure I would have ended up at Alston & Bird and at a job that I love.
Once you are attending law school, I encourage you to work hard and study but to also get to know your classmates. I have already seen my classmates help others get jobs in new firms and new cities. But as your career progress, your classmates may become your future clients. So, I encourage all future students to work hard, get good grades, but also grab a drink or coffee with your classmates and build those lifelong connections.
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