Teri Kaufman Leonovich '94
|Associate General Counsel
LifeBridge Health, Inc.
UM Carey Law Affiliations:
Maryland Law Review
1. Describe how you arrived at your chosen career path:
Law seemed like a perfect career for me given my interests in writing, debate, and working with people.
2. What is important for students to get out of law school to prepare for a career after graduation?
The coursework itself is not what is truly valuable about law school. You don’t need to memorize what the law is, you need to know how to find out what the law is and be able to interpret it. What is most valuable about law school is the opportunity to obtain experience in various fields of law. I would encourage students to take advantage of opportunities for internships and working in the field. Further, they should reach out to attorneys who have jobs they think they would like and talk to them about what they do. The experience of law school has very little to do with what it is like to actually go out and practice law. You should make every effort to find out what it is really like to be a lawyer.
3. Describe a day on the job:
The best thing about my job is that it is different every day. I have ultimate responsible for all general and professional liability matters in our health system. That means that I am dealing with different legal and medical issues every day. I also spend a lot of time advising people on how to handle perceived problems and trying to resolve problems. My day never ends up being what I thought it would be when I started in the morning, but it is definitely never boring!
4. What has been a rewarding experience for you as a professional?
The most rewarding thing is when I am able to help people resolve these conflicts in a way which brings them piece of mind and which makes them feel that the legal system has provided them with a just result and that their concerns have been taken seriously. So many people are distrustful of lawyers. It’s nice when you can provide them with a positive experience and make them feel that you have done something good for them.
I also enjoy the interaction with people that I have. I get to meet and work with a wide variety of people with different backgrounds and human stories.
5. What would you have done differently during law school or early in your career?
I would have spent more time getting out of the classroom and trying different types of legal work. There are many creative ways to use a law degree and I would have liked to have better informed myself of these kinds of opportunities. I also wouldn’t have taken it all quite so seriously. The most successful members of my graduating law school class are not necessarily the ones with the best grades. They are the people who knew how to make connections with people and to balance all of the challenges that faced them with direction and a sense of humor.
6. What are the challenges you think attorneys face professionally in the coming years and how can they prepare now?
Work-life issues are always difficult to deal with when you have a difficult job that requires so much time and dedication. It’s important to ensure that you don’t get trapped into doing something that you don’t care about just for the paycheck. It’s a cliché, but make sure you take the time to find something that makes you happy more often than it makes you stressed out.