Associate Life

Andrew Stauber

Finding a Solution

September 26, 2012 4:19 PM | Permalink | Print

After my sophomore year of college, I was a summer intern at a nuclear power plant. Somehow, and against someone’s better judgment, my summer responsibilities included beta-testing and implementing some new database that was going to be used to store the plant’s training and safety procedures. I took great pride in pointing out the flaws or errors of the database, and over the course of the summer must have pointed out dozens of such problems to my supervisor Brendan. After a couple weeks of my assaulting Brendan with the inadequacies of this new database, Brendan shared with me perhaps the most important professional advice I have ever received: “Andrew, it’s great that you’ve identified all of these problems. But, you know what would be really helpful? If you could come up with a solution every once and a while too.”

Fast forward more than a decade (I just did the math on that—can’t believe it’s been 11 years since I was a sophomore in college), and I’m thrilled to be working for an organization, and specifically a department, focused on not just identifying legal risks, liabilities, deficiencies and problems, but one focused on giving practical solutions.

After a couple of months of sitting next to Stéphanie Smith or Ariella Feingold on a call with a client, I began to understand that our Labor and Employment group has an unwavering commitment to helping companies and non-profit organizations expand their operations, develop policies and practices, navigate their operations through economic down cycles, and respond to the occasional incident or complaint. For example, recently a pro bono client reached out and asked whether his organization should address a transgender employee as a male or a female. A summer associate (thanks for your help, Sam!) and I worked together not only to answer this question, but also to inform our client as to how best to create an environment supportive of this and all other employees of the organization. It’s an incredible feeling to not only be able to provide a client with the correct legal answer, but also to work interactively to develop a strategy moving forward for an organization to guide its workforce.

If Brendan from the nuclear power plant could see me now, I would like to think that he would be glowing and radiant to see that I am part of such a solution-oriented and thoughtful team. Yes, pun intended.