Firm: Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP
Law School: USC
Years in Practice: 35
Reason I'm a Lawyer: A talented lawyer has the opportunity to influence people's lives and events. This has proven to be the case in my experience.
Most Challenging Case: The near bankruptcy of the Flying Tiger Line Inc., a refinance of its entire fleet of cargo airplanes in 1987, and the sale of the company to Federal Express Corp. in 1989.
Best Career Moments: My representation of the California Wellness Foundation, which culminated in sales of its shares of HealthNet Inc., that provided the foundation with the financial ability to make grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.
Worst: As a new lawyer in court, when the judge highlighted how I confused the terms demur and demurrer in my first and only pleading, and suggested I might want to consider another profession.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I would be an architect.
LAWRENCE BRAUN , 54
FIRM: Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
LAW SCHOOL: Northwestern University School of Law
CLIENTS: Northrop Grumman, Lenovo Group, GHD Inc., Sanders Industries, Alcatel, privately owned businesses, entrepreneurs
Years In Practice: 28
Reason I'm a Lawyer: During high school, I was active on the debate team. We participated in contests throughout the country. But what really drove to me become a lawyer was that I liked to deal with people when they had complex alternatives which required solutions that integrated the personal side and business/legal issues.
Best Career Moment: Closing three transactions on Dec. 30 and 31 the year the tax laws changed. It was incredibly challenging, and included either sleepless nights or nights sleeping anywhere you could find space for the three weeks beforehand.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I would be an owner and operator of a business. I like retail, food service and the oil and gas industries. I think I could put together a great team to manage a business to success.
Bucket List: Travel to Dubai, motorcycling across country for a month, helicopter skiing.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I have a black belt in karate.
LISA GREER QUATEMAN , 55
FIRM: Quateman LLP
LAW SCHOOL: UCLA
CLIENTS: City of Los Angeles, American Honda, State of California, Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, Prudential Financial, Scherzer International, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Northern Trust Bank
YEARS IN PRACTICE: 31
Reason I'm a Lawyer: My original goals were to learn my way around real estate, and earn an independent living.
Most Challenging Case: The State of California's Economic Recovery Bonds transaction in 2004. The voters had approved up to $15 billion in bonds to refinance the state deficit, and the structure was complicated and involved coordination among numerous state and local agencies.
Best Career Moment: Landing clients for the firm, especially the FDIC, the City of Los Angeles, American Honda Motor Co. and some of L.A.'s best privately held companies.
Worst: When I was a first year associate at a big firm in New York, I recorded an Amendment to Deed of Trust with incorrect dollar amounts. Oops! That was an embarrassing but important lesson learned.
If I Weren't an Attorney: Before I decided to go to law school I thought I'd become a French professor or interior designer. Now I'd lean towards real estate development or brokerage.
Bucket List: Visit the Galapagos Islands in March 2010, serve on a public corporate board, develop real estate.
OTHER TOP CORPORATE ATTORNEYS
Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor LLP
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP
Bingham McCutchen LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
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