Alumni Spotlight: Lynnel Reyes '17

Monday, February 22, 2021
Lynnel Reyes '17

Any business advise you would give to someone just starting in the profession?

Three things:

(1) Paralegals and staff are your biggest asset and resource.

They are! Prior to working for Switch, I started my legal career at a national law firm. While there, I began working in the Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring practice group. Practicing Bankruptcy law is like learning a completely different language, and admittedly, I felt like a fish out of water. However, there was a senior bankruptcy paralegal that was so well-versed in procedures, rules, and the overall law that she could have been an attorney herself. Every day I took to the opportunity to ask her questions and shadow her while she was on phone calls or preparing certain pleadings. In turn, she was always more than willing to help me and we established a great mutual respect for one another. I learned an immense amount from her and attribute a large part of my Bankruptcy knowledge to her. Your staff is knowledgeable! Use them and empower them. It will come around full circle.
(2) Do not rely on memory or handwritten notes – always go back to the source.

During an internship in law school I was tasked with preparing discovery responses. I recall typing a response “from memory” when my mentor said, “Your memory will fail you. Grab the document you are referring to and read it again. Always go back to the source. Otherwise, you could make a mistake.” Several years later, I was sitting with a senior partner in his office and we were analyzing the facts of a case. We agreed that a specific rule of Civil Procedure was likely applicable to our analysis. He immediately grabbed the FRCP book he had on his bookshelf and read the rule aloud. Afterwards, he said, “You know, I’ve read this rule a dozen times, and every time I read it, I read it in a different way.” Two very different attorneys both going back to the document/authority itself. This has been a valuable lesson for me as I’ve settled cases because the other side did not review and analyze the original source.
(3) In this inherently adversarial profession, take the opportunity to not be so adversarial.

Most of my success is a result of establishing and building a rapport with opposing counsel. By doing this, what would have ignited disagreements and heavy motion practice became meaningful negotiations and optimal resolutions. Get to know the other side – it is amazing what you can learn about their view of the case, their strategy, and their goals just by taking a friendlier approach. At the same token, you are zealously advocating for your client and potentially saving them money in the long run too!
My thanks to Dean Durand:
During my law school orientation, Dean Durand said, “You are going to work hard and law school will consume a lot of your time, but don’t forget the people that were there before law school, because you want them there afterwards too.” It stuck with me. Dean Durand: Thank you for being there for so many of us at the inception of our legal journey. We appreciate you and you are with us as we continue on in our legal careers. We will never forget you. Thank you for everything.

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