"

I wake up at daybreak and, if I'm good, I work out with a trainer or go for a walk around my neighborhood or to the health club. I've been doing yoga for a couple of years. Unlike the rest of life, it's theoretically not competitive.


I check my e-mail when I have my first coffee. On average I get about 175 e-mails a day. I have a love-hate relationship with e-mail. My inbox consists of the urgent transactions for the week and maybe something from our broker and our designer, because our firm is moving to another office.


We have attorney staff meetings in the morning. I love meetings I like to think on my feet. We take turns training one another on different topics. I'm good at training the attorneys about transaction management and client relations, or how to make a loan, represent a lender, represent a bank making a loan to buy assets of a company or execute real estate transactions.


At the beginning of a deal, say involving local government, I go to kickoff meetings later in the morning, where everyone involved in a deal gets together to talk about how much money will get raised, how much money the government will borrow, and what revenue stream will be used to repay that debt. I'm hopefully doing more listening than talking.


My lunches are either 12-minute meals at my desk or bringing people together at a restaurant. After lunch it's usually more of the same. I do try to schedule meetings having to do with firm management or any kind of personal real estate investment matters in the afternoon, when I don't have to be quite as fresh.


I spend a lot of time working with the other people in the firm. They use me as a sounding board, asking me questions about client factual matters. I make sure work is divided relatively evenly, and that no one person is drowning. A big part of my job is being a cheerleader for the other lawyers and staff.


I'm very often working into the evening, because I'm not on the telephone anymore and I can concentrate on the complicated transactions we handle. I'm either composing documents myself contracts or disclosure or loan contracts or I'm editing what other people did or commenting on what another firm did. I usually don't leave the office until 7.


In the evenings, I might leave early for a meeting of the board of Leadership L.A. or another political fundraiser. I also try to catch a show at the Disney Concert Hall, Geffen Playhouse, or Hollywood Bowl.


I eat out three nights a week and often have takeout. I really enjoy cooking. When I have the chance on the weekends, I do my grocery shopping ahead of time so I can get home after work, drink wine, and make my husband dinner. I like to cook healthy foods like grilled fish, chicken, tofu, or vegetables.


The thing about private law practice, at least in my case, is there is no such thing as a typical day. The schedule can change every day, and I often feel like a mix-and-match paper doll. "


As told to Katherine Gray


Lisa Quateman
Founder and Principal
Quateman & Zidell LLP

Daily Reading: California
section of the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bond Buyer
In her CD player: Tudor
Gheorghe ("He's the Romanian Frank Sinatra")
Pet Peeve: People who don't signal
Guilty Pleasure: Reading
People magazine while getting a manicure
Favorite Recent Flick: "March of the Penguins"
Weekend Getaway: Condo overlooking Latigo Point in Malibu

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.