Keesal Young & Logan
Lisa Beazley made a decision early in life to become a lawyer but not for the usual reasons.
Beazley says she entered law as a means of self-sufficiency.
"I come from Newport Beach. And when I grew up, there were a series of women whose husbands had left them," she says. "These were my mother's friends, and they were left with no skills.
"I concluded at an early age that I had to get skills, and I knew law was a good career," says Beazley, who at 16 was clerking part-time at Orange County law firms. "I guess my need for self-sufficiency kicked in when I was young."
Today, she's one of the top attorneys with Keesal Young & Logan. And last year her career hit a new peak when she became chief outside counsel for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in legal battles concerning the Alameda Corridor.
The rail project, she says, poses some interesting legal challenges.
"Representing politicians is fascinating because you don't know what to expect," says Beazley. "There is a big learning curve, and the most fun thing about the job is seeing what's coming up. It's an interesting ride."
Dealing with politicians should be old hat for Beazley. Upon graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, she went to London where her father lives at first just to visit relatives and see the sights. While there, she applied for about 50 jobs finally landing one as a legislative assistant for Parliament.
Among her duties was helping draft legislation to privatize Britain's telecommunications industry.
"It was a really interesting time of my life," says Beazley. "It was a time of great changes. This was when Margaret Thatcher was at her peak, and I was lucky to meet people like her and just about every other major political leader there."
She came back to the United States and entered the University of San Diego. After receiving her law degree in 1988, Beazley went to work for Keesal Young & Logan where she had been interning throughout college.
Skip Keesal, the firm's founding partner, says Beazley's Alameda Corridor work is one of the toughest jobs at the firm.
"She has to deal with the mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach on a regular basis, as well as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. And they all want answers," he says. "What makes her good at this job is her tenacity. She has this ability to break things down, and be very direct with these elected officials and that's not easy when trying to explain the legal points of the Alameda Corridor."
Joe Bel Bruno
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