General Counsel of Audible on Paving Pathways in Her Legal Journey

Sigalle Barness | August 9, 2022

On this week’s episode of Lawline's Lawyers Who Lead podcast, Sigalle interviews Lori Landew, General Counsel of Audible, the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling. Lori shares her compelling journey from BigLaw commercial litigator to Boutique Entertainment Attorney, to In-House at Record Labels before ultimately becoming Audible's GC. Lori's story shows that paving pathways means navigating circumstance, people, and tough decisions to achieve the life you want, both professionally and personally. Listen to the full interview or read highlights of the interview below! Transcribed answers were edited for readability.


On Her Gratitude for the Day

Reconnecting with an Old Friend


Well, that's a great question. And I would say my favorite moment today was reconnecting with an old friend that I hadn't seen since pre-COVID, who was in town for some business. We had a chance to meet for breakfast, which is something I haven't done much of in a couple years. And it was really just wonderful. It was wonderful to see her. It was wonderful to be out and was wonderful to feel like we were getting back to some sense of normalcy. So it was all great. 


On Her Lawyer Origin Story

Kid with a Big Mouth, Lots of Opinions, and Always Advocating for Others


I would say that everybody around me told me that I wanted to be a lawyer or that I should be a lawyer. I was one of those kids with a big mouth and a lot to say. Always had an opinion and always advocated for myself and for other people around me.

So that was definitely, I think for as long as I can remember, people would say, oh, you should be a lawyer. So I think it just got ingrained and embedded in my mind that that's probably something that I would be good at. But I didn't actually really start thinking about it as a genuine alternative until I was in college. And I really started thinking about what I wanted to do post-college. 

I majored in history, but I actually was really involved in the arts. Pre-college I did a lot of singing and different kinds of performing. And when I got to college, that was really my passion and my love was being on stage or behind the stage or doing production work and things like that.

And so, there was this moment where I thought maybe that would be the direction I would go in and then kind of had a, a reality check realizing that probably not where my talents were the strongest and that I should try and find another way to be around the arts, but doing something that might make more sense for my strengths.


On Always Wanting to be a Media and Entertainment Lawyer

Wanted to Represent Creators Who She Derived Energy From


That was really the goal and that wasn't even, you know, back in those days, not like a thing, the way it is today. I don't think it really had a name necessarily, but it was something that I discovered when I was trying to marry the arts and law.

So thinking in terms of wanting to find a path to being a lawyer, but to do it for people who were doing the kinds of things that I in fact wanted to do or I kind of derived energy from which were creators. So that's, uh, what took me to law school. I went because they had a law in the arts program and then set me down that path after that.


On Her Non-Linear Path Through Law

Commercial Litigation at BigLaw, Entertainment Work at a Boutique, Firm Merger Brought Her Back to BigLaw


My path could have been more linear, but sometimes life gets in the way and sends you down different paths that you didn't expect.

I went to law school and I think like a lot of people back in those days, which were the late eighties, there was a real push towards going into big law. That was really where people were directed and focused. And I felt for myself and a lot of my classmates, we had this sense of you weren't gonna be successful if you didn't go down that path.

That was really what success would mean. And so I got the job in big law and was there for a couple years. You know, back then, if you were following a certain career path, you would never leave before two years. That was like, given you go to a job, you have to stay two years to show that you're committed. To show that you're not somebody who just jumps from thing to thing. 

So went to big law. Didn't really like it, but put in my two years, because that was a thing that I thought I was supposed to do. Was a general commercial litigator at the time. But really still had my heart set on doing something that was more related to the arts. And so I was able to find a job at a boutique entertainment firm at the time that was really centered around music and went to be a litigator there. And my practice really revolved around copyright disputes, trademark disputes, things of that nature. That small firm then was merged into a larger firm.

And I found myself back in big law, which was really not appealing to me, cause that was what I was trying to get away from. I'll also say back in those years, as a woman coming up in a big law firm, the prospects weren't great in terms of what you were gonna be able to do, particularly if you had any thoughts about having a family and having any kind of what we now call work/life balance. 

It didn't really have a name back in those years, but it was what people were trying to figure out, if you were trying to have a family and also a career. I started thinking a lot about what would make sense for me and the family that I hoped to have. And I started looking towards in-house and that was really what put me down that path. 

I'll also say that I had fallen out of love with litigation. I was at a point in my life where I was looking at my colleagues who were on the transactional side, who were really much happier in their career because they were in a part of the business where things were coming together. Whereas on the litigation side, we were in the part of the business where things were falling apart. And so to the extent that you could be successful for your clients and still have a great outcome, be that winning or settling a matter that would work to their advantage, people were typically not happy having gone through that process. So it was never really a great moment of exaltation that you get when you're actually entering into something that's exciting as opposed to trying to get out of it. 

So anyway, putting all those things together, it pushed me towards wanting to be on the transactional side of the business and then also get out of my law firm life. So I set about looking for a job in-house, which was harder than I even imagined because what I found is that it was very difficult to convince people who were hiring, that I could be a transactional lawyer, as opposed to being a litigator. This happens to a lot of people. Like you find yourself in a particular practice either because you thought that's what you wanted or because that's where the law firm thought you would do best. And like it or not, you become pigeonholed in that area. And so making a change is not necessarily easy. 


On Changing From BigLaw Litigation to In-House at Record Label

Highlighting the Value a Litigator Can Bring to Transactional Work


I was ultimately fortunate because I was hired by somebody who had a litigation background too. So it made it easier for him to see where the value was and hire a litigator to come in and do transactional work, having been through where agreements fall apart and where disputes arise. It gives you a particular insight into how you build an agreement and how to make sure that it's solid and everybody's expectations are where they should be based on what you're trying to memorialize in that agreement. 

So, that worked to my advantage when I was hired there. And that was a record label called Jive Records in the Zomba Recording Group. To get that job, I will say I had to really convince him to give me the opportunity, cause even though he was open to somebody with a litigation background, I really had not done a lot in the world of record labels. I'd done things around it, but I hadn't actually been seriously part of that particular part of the industry. 

So I took a job clearing samples. This was, at the time, Zomba and Jive was a very successful, independent record label, but still relatively small, mostly focused around rap and hip-hop and a little bit of R&B. And needed to prove my commitment and my interest and my willingness to do things that were different and to learn from him and others. Took a big risk in terms of making that move, not being sure which way it would go. And went over there and learned everything about the industry from him and from others who I work with.

My only caveat with him when I took the job was that if I could demonstrate to him that I could do a lot of different things, that he would give me the opportunity to grow within the company and that's exactly what happened. I was there for about nine plus years. By the time I left, I was a pretty senior executive in the company and helping to co-run the entire business and legal affairs group and learned everything about the world of music in that job.

It was a great opportunity. I loved it. It went from being a relatively small label to being the largest, by the time I left, the largest independent music company in the world. We moved into pop, being one of the other big success stories. We signed Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Britney Spears among others. And of course, that just took us in a really exciting direction. And so I was happy to be part of that when it was all taking place.


On the Concept of Proving Your Worth

I Found Myself In Places I Wasn't Sure I Should Be And Continually Tested And Encouraged 


I think the process of having to prove your worth, it's something that comes up a lot. When I think back on it now, many decades into my career. It's something that I have felt whether others have felt it or not. I have felt like it's something I've had to always do. And so I don't think it was foreign to me or intimidating because I think I had been doing it even up to that point for my whole career and probably my whole life. 

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. My dad was a cab driver. My mom worked in an office. My family was not one that had grown up seeing what the world was like when you are welcomed into different kinds of places. And that you feel like you belong in those places. And when you start believing that you can participate in those ways and be in places. 

And I consider myself very fortunate here where others told me that I should be in those places that I belong there and told me that I could succeed there. I was then able to take them at their word, even if I didn't always believe it myself. And then you start actually showing up and being able to do what's expected of you. And you do realize that you can belong in certain kinds of ways. It just becomes, I don't wanna say second nature cause you never take it for granted, but you start exercising those muscles and developing those skills.

Just a little fun fact. I sang with the, um, Metropolitan opera, New York City Opera and the chorus through my younger life. I never really knew if I would be accepted, but the more you put yourself in those places and you open yourself up to those experiences, the more you find that there will be people who maybe have been down a similar path or are just genuinely nurturing and encouraging that will continue to bring you in and encourage you to the next moment. 

So, just trying to circle back, I had repeatedly, although obviously not being self aware of this at the time, just found myself in places that I wasn't sure I should be and continually tested and encouraged. And as a result, I wasn't as afraid, I think as somebody might be who had not been put in those strange sorts of settings. You know, where they weren't sure if they belonged and then ultimately found their way.

So doing it again, and I'll say it happened more than once in my career. That part wasn't as scary to me as it might be to some. And I didn't really feel that I necessarily had a lot at stake either because I felt if it didn't work, I would figure something else out. And I'm lucky there too, because I just had a lot of people around me along the way, who let me see that there were always alternatives. One thing doesn't work out. You pivot, you find something else that does. So from that end, not so scary to be in that situation. Welcoming the challenge, excited about betting on myself and trying to convince somebody that I could do it. 

And then the actual convincing just came down to I'm a good talker. Right? You know, I had talked myself into a lot of things along the way, you know, and I was able to get myself into a lot of rooms. And I think like many things, if you're genuine, if you're authentic, if you're sincere, which I was, then people are receptive. And when you don't ask for anything in return, all you really want is just, give me the chance to walk in and show you what I can do. There's not a lot of downside. And of course I wasn't walking in completely unprepared. I had a good background. I had gone to, you know, quality schools. Had good training. So he wasn't really taking a big risk in letting me try to do this, but he did. And I consider myself lucky that he did. 

You know, I never forget those kinds of things, right? Where people give you those opportunities and a little bit of road and rope to try and improve yourself. So that's how I ended up at the label. And it was an incredibly wonderful experience on every level. 


On Helping and Supporting Others

Paying It Forward Is Extremely Important, I Would Not Be Where I Am But For The Help Of Others 


Because I'm in entertainment law, and it's an area of interest for a lot of young people, both young lawyers and then also people who are aspiring to become lawyers or trying to figure out what path they wanna take. So I'm constantly hearing from people. Can you talk to this person? Would you mind speaking with this person, would you mind meeting with that person? And I always will do that. I will always make that time. Because I think it is critical for people to learn about what it is that they're interested in, but also to hear how people got there. Not because any one story is gonna provide the roadmap for what's right for another person. But I think it just demonstrates that there's a lot of different ways to get there. And you just want people to believe in themselves and to have that confidence to go down those paths. 

But the whole concept of paying it forward is extremely important to me. I know I would not have the opportunities that I've had and be where I am, but for the help of others. 


On Her Nonprofit Work with World Cafe Live Education

Music Education Serving Thousands of Young People From Underserved Communities in Philadelphia


You know, you mentioned in my bio before, this not for profit that I'm very involved in and it's now called World Cafe Live Education. It is a music education focused not for profit that works with young people around the area where I live, which is in Philadelphia, underserved communities in Philadelphia.

It was created in a moment about 13 years ago when arts programs were being pulled out of the public schools. And as a way to help supplement that by bringing some arts education to young people in our area. And the other big part of the organization revolved around bringing young people into different spaces that they would not necessarily always see and seeing worlds that were not necessarily open to them and environments that would be new and interesting. Because from my own personal experience, I know that without having seen some of these other worlds, I wouldn't even have known enough to want them. And to wanna see how to get there. 

So part of what we try to do is to make sure that young people are being exposed to lots of different experiences, different thinking, artists, environments. With the hope that among other things, that they'll be able to have just some exposure and awareness of a bigger world, a world that may be outside their front door, and maybe that sparks an interest. Maybe it sparks curiosity. Maybe it just gives them a different language that they can use in their own world.

So that's been great. We've served thousands of young people with a lot of great stories coming out of that. And I think it's just another example of where I really have tried to like, remember what's made a difference for me and hope that it can help to make a difference for other people.


On the Conflagration of Events That Lead to More Changes

Needed More Flexibility, 9/11, and an Opportunity to Work for an Organization Focused on Decentralized Operations 


I was very happy there [Record Label] and it was a wonderful group and a wonderful place. The family I hoped to have one day I did have, so that was wonderful. They were extremely supportive when that part of my life started to develop. But it was not, again, like it is today. So things like part-time work, flexible arrangements. This was not in the vernacular. This was not something that existed. And I started to feel some strain at the time in terms of spending time with my family. 

So I went to the executives that I worked with and I said that I was still happy to work full time, but I wanted some flexibility. So I had a long commute. I wanted to be able to come in maybe a little later sometimes, leave a little earlier, you know, maybe work from home a day a week. The goal was like being home for dinner a few nights with my kids. It seemed like that would be a great thing. 

At the time that wasn't an option. The people I worked with felt that if they did that for me, and this is I think something you would hear a lot during those years, there was a concern about the floodgates opening, right? And they were really more focused on women than men. Because this wasn't typically then an issue that men would raise. And I was a, a pretty high ranking woman in the company at that point. And the thinking was, oh, no, you know, if we do it for Lori, now all these other women are gonna want this and this is gonna tear down the foundation of this company somehow. That we're not gonna be able to do it. 

So they declined that request, which was disappointing. And then 9/11 happened. I was living and working around New York City at the time. And as was the case for so many people, it was a devastating moment. And for us, there were people we knew in our lives who were victims of 9/11. People in our community, people that we had met through work and school. And suddenly, you know, you just became very aware of your own mortality and the fact that the world could change literally in a second.

And I think that was a moment for us as it was for many people of taking a step back and saying, are we living the life we wanna live? Are our lives working the way we think they should in terms of our family and our profession and all the other sort of surrounding circumstances and experiences? Where we came out with my family is that we weren't living the life we wanted to be living. We weren't spending enough time together. We weren't enjoying our lives personally, the way we had hoped to. So that combined with not being able to get the flexibility that I was looking for, just became the impetus to start trying to find something else and something different.

And that was hard back then, because there was no real clear direction to go in. Particularly in that case, really more of a music lawyer at the time. There were certain music hubs, certain cities, but they would face similar kinds of challenges. 

And then very unexpectedly, an opportunity popped up in one of the suburbs of Philadelphia. There was a music company, the Ryko group and Ryko disk. And, at the time, they had offices in several different cities. That was what they were built on was this notion of decentralizing their operations. So there were like creative people in Massachusetts, and there were distribution people in New York and there were business people right outside Philadelphia. And so the idea of working in different locations was very comfortable for them. They were looking for a head of business and legal affairs and general counsel to live outside of Philadelphia, which had not been on our radar as a place to go because it's not a city that I thought of as being one that I could do what I had been doing professionally. But as a city, very familiar to me and my husband, because we had gone to school in Philadelphia and we had a lot of friends in the area and felt very comfortable as a possible place. And we decided that it was worth trying it on for size and seeing how it worked out for us.

It was great. They had a completely flexible workplace environment because that's how everybody was working there. I reduced my commute from what had been about an hour and a half each way to about 10 minutes each way. And spent the next five plus years there, I was able to be closer to home and get involved in things at school and in the community, and still stay very connected to the career that I wanted and not really have to make any sacrifices or compromises. Then that company was sold. So that's what led me eventually to starting my own practice. And then eventually going back into law firm life, because that unfortunately coincided with 2008 and the financial crisis. And of course, that just changed the landscape for everything.

So again, some combination of attention and then just circumstances and life events that will take you in certain directions. But like most things you have to just roll with it. And that's what we did. And again, hope for the best, but comfortable in the idea that if it didn't work out, we'd figure something else out.


On Her Philosophy and the Thing She Shares Most With Young People

“Lawyers Shouldn't Let Anyone Else Define Their Success”


I refer to what you just quoted as actually one of my philosophies and probably the thing that I share most with young people, when talking about how to design a career. We often fall victim to what other people think of as being successful and buying into other people's definitions of success. And that goes right back to what I mentioned earlier, coming out of law school. I absolutely bought into what other people told me I was supposed to be doing without really giving a lot of thought about what I wanted to do. And somewhere along the way, I started to realize that I needed to figure out what was successful for me.

And for many years, that meant for me and my family, because I wanted it all. I wanted this career. I wanted the family. The successful relationship. To be able to have time to experience life. And again, this comes back to this place of life is short when you wanna make the most of it, if you're lucky enough to be able to do that. 

And often I watched my peers achieving certain markers of success, certain titles, certain roles, levels of compensation or other kinds of stature. And I always, in those quick glances over, where I could have been a little bit jealous or second guessing my own decisions. I was constantly reminding myself that what's good for other people is not necessarily what's good for me. And if I could do the things that make sense for me and my family, then I would in my mind be successful. 

So, I've never had confusion on that. I've always been very clear on those aspirations of what I wanted for us. And I think that helps cause I think that's a lens through which you can make a lot of decisions and makes it much easier to make those decisions, not to second guess yourself. 


On How Lawyers Can Help Clients to Define Success

Deconstructing What a Clients Want and Addressing Goals Step-by-Step


I say that to people coming up, but I also would say that all the time to my clients, too. Because particularly in the creative world and working with musicians and performers and then eventually with companies that were startups in the entertainment industry and elsewhere, you want everybody to be motivated and wanna drive forward and do things that will be important for them. But I would always try to really deconstruct with them, like, what are they really looking for at the end of the day? What is it that's gonna make them truly happy and going to keep them on an even keel. We all risk the potential for never truly being happy, cause we always want more.

So you have to try to set that place of, if I can get there, wherever there is, I'll feel like I've made it. And then if more happens, then that's even better. For example, with musicians, we would often talk about, well, is it important to you or is the ultimate goal to be in a big venue with thousands and thousands of people cheering you on, which is great if that's a goal. Or do you wanna be able to make music for the rest of your life, be able to earn a living doing it and ultimately not have to take another job and just be able to support yourself and if you have a family. You know, where do you fall on that spectrum? 

And more often than not what I would find with a lot of the people I work with is that what really mattered to them was just doing what they love and what they really love was making music. Certainly, always wanted to give them the tools and the support to achieve that great big goal, but didn't necessarily want them to feel like if they didn't get there, then they weren't successful. It was more about like, let's set these more achievable goals and then hit that one, then let's talk about the next one and then trying to really keep them on that path that ultimately would keep them happy and satisfied. That's really how I've approached it all the way through. And so far it's worked out. So, I'm glad that's the mindset I've had. 

I don't know if it's common. It is a differentiator with different lawyers. And I think also, obviously it depends on the kind of law you do. So you don't always have the opportunity to have that kind of relationship with a client where you can be in that sort of a role. 

I mean, I'm lucky that the kind of work I've done. And the situations that it's put me in, I've been able to be that partner to my clients as they're building their brand and their world. It's not unusual for a lot of lawyers in those sorts of roles to become both the legal advisor, obviously, but also that trusted counselor to their clients. Because as much as offering legal advice, you're also really just helping them think through their situations and helping them to spot the issues, not just legal ones, but other ones that are potentially gonna be obstacles along the way, and then help them to think critically about how they work around those issues or find a different path. And that's very much wired into what we do as lawyers. And it just becomes another way to apply that thinking in different settings. 

So I don't think it's unusual for certain kinds of attorneys and for certain kinds of businesses, but not necessarily something that everybody has the opportunity to do or would wanna do. I think there's also lawyers who be like, that's really not a road that I wanna go down. That's not my thing. 


On Why She Started Working at Audible

Return to In-House Work She Loved With an Exciting Opportunity to Work with Audio Content


Sure. So after that little interlude of the financial crisis, and I ended up back in private practice, that then took me into a world where I was doing not just music, but doing a lot of other kinds of entertainment work. So I went back to a law firm and was able to help build, um, an entertainment practice that included film and television and fashion and sports and other kinds of media. And that was very exciting to learn all of those things and did that for, I don't know, whatever it was 11 or 12 years.

And then got a call from a recruiter who was looking to find somebody to lead and oversee Audible's content legal part of their business. So Audible had a legal department and in that legal department, they had lawyers who were focused on original content and building content for the service, which, for anybody who is not familiar, is a wonderful, spoken word, audio entertainment company. Very devoted to premium storytelling content and building that content for its listeners.

So they came to me. And it was at a moment where I was open to making a change. You know, I had loved my in-house experiences, and ended up not intentionally back in a law firm, but it made sense to do at the time based on what was going on in the world. And here was another interesting opportunity to go back in-house and do what I love to do, but in a different setting in audio. Which seemed to fit very nicely into my set of experiences, having been in music, in film and television, and working with creators. 

So I jumped at the opportunity. I loved the idea of making a change, which again was weird at that point in my career, but exciting and something where I wasn't sure that I was gonna have another opportunity like that. And so when it came, I enthusiastically embraced it and went over to Audible a little over two years ago to oversee that part of their business. And then in July 2021, the general counsel of Audible decided to leave and I was very fortunate to step into that role and become general counsel. Which brings us to today. 


On the Legal Team at Audible

It’s A Full Service Law Firm All Within A Business Environment 


We have an incredible team. We've got both lawyers and legal professionals. We are global. So we have altogether about 45 folks who work within legal at Audible. Plus we have a terrific team of outside counsel and some other contractors who help us along the way. We have that content group, which we were just talking about, but we also have corporate lawyers, employment lawyers, our compliance folks who help us to understand what's changing and what's required of media companies across the board and around the world. 

We've got counsel that help us with governance. We're a tech company. So we've got a lot of people who specialize in IP and brand development, marketing and communications. So it's a full service law firm, but all within a business environment. So we've got a lot of expertise and a lot of really creative and smart people working with us. 


On the Skills and Attributes of a Successful Lawyer at Audible 

Subject Matter Experts Relating Law, Trusted Thought Partners Who Understand and Anticipate the Business


Well, we are very much partners to our business colleagues. We fill a dual function where we can't just be focused on the law. Although obviously our business partners rely on us to be as up to date as we can on where the law is going and to be able to anticipate, manage risks, and look around corners and keep them as many steps ahead of the game as possible in terms of issue spotting. 

But the other big part of what we all do is, again, we're the trusted partners to our in-house clients and in-house business colleagues where we need to know about the industry. We need to know about the industry. We need to know about where they work and live in terms of the business environment that they have to function in. We're obviously not gonna be experts like they are in their different work streams, but we need to know enough that we can add value to the decisions that they have to make and be there to support that. 

So I like to think that we really wear multiple hats with respect to our role, within Audible. Where we are subject matter experts relating to the law, but also good partners in terms of understanding and anticipating the business so that we can be thought partners to our colleagues in everything that they do.


On What it Means to Be A Trusted Thought Partner

Staying Educated on Legal and Industry Developments, Community Involvement, Curious Mindset, Passion for the Product, and Continuously Sharing Knowledge


We do it in a lot of different ways. Obviously there's a lot of information that's available these days and probably it's easier to access than it ever has been. I tell my team all the time, whether it's through subscribing to every industry journal that makes sense, not just on the legal side, but on the technology and business side and the media and entertainment side. Like we need to understand where Audible sits within the larger entertainment landscape that's out there in terms of the business and the creative community. So we keep ourselves educated there. 

We also keep ourselves up to date on what's happening on the legal side. You know, there's a typical continuing legal education. Making sure that we are involved in various professional types of communities. But even more than that, we look for inspiration around us, you know, within what's happening in culture. And everybody on my team, I have to say, is just naturally curious and also very much in love with what we do. We really love the tech and we really love the content. And so we are natural fans, which also makes us more useful to the business because we're always learning. We're always learning from them and we're learning from each other and we're learning from what's out there.

There's a real emphasis that we place on communication and on sharing. Cause obviously none of us is gonna know everything. So we're always in touch with each other. We have all kinds of internal communication systems, but if anybody happens on a great piece of information or something we think everybody else should know, we will periodically come together and share what everybody's doing so we're all aware. And then share any other new information that's coming down the pike. 

So I think law in general really lends itself to that in terms of always being something new and interesting. And that's what we try to do together and with our colleagues. We look to them to educate us as much as we try to educate them on the things that we know about. 


Leveraging Storytelling Internally at Audible

Story Creates Understanding and Gives Context


I think we all naturally gravitate towards that [storytelling] when it comes to communications and trying to put things in a context that is understandable for our colleagues. It's one thing to know the law and to know where something should go in your opinion or where you'd like it to go from a legal standpoint. It's another thing to be able to communicate that in a way that is going to make sense. You know, the why behind, why we need to do something or the why behind why we think we should do something. And to be able to put that in a format that people will understand and appreciate and accept. 

And so we've learned a lot about that from being around our colleagues who are so good at that, right? Who are so good at being able to create narratives that connect. And so we try to do that ourselves, whether it's being able to say, here's what might happen, and this is why we should think about this, or to be able to just tell a story of how or why this matters and be able to put it in a form that will resonate. We do that, but it also helps that we work with really smart people. We just understand where we're coming from and know that we have their best interest at heart. 


On What Leadership in Law Means

Always Learning And Being Willing To Share And Teach


To me leadership means being vulnerable and always learning and being willing to share and teach.


On Something People Seem to Misunderstand About the Work She Does

Media and Entertainment Legal Work is Interesting, But It Isn’t Glamorous


I think the biggest thing that people misunderstand is that being an entertainment and media lawyer is not glamorous. It's being a lawyer. It's doing the hard work and getting agreements done in our case or dealing with disputes or whatever it may be, and just understanding the law and there's nothing particularly glamorous about that. It's interesting, but it's not big parties and red carpets and velvet ropes. 


On A Piece Of Practical Advice To Leaders In Law

If There's Something You Want To Do, Go Out And Be In The Places Where It's Getting Done


I think the best advice I can give is to take some risks. I always tell young people put your face in the place, right? If there's something you think you wanna do, then go out and be in those places where it's getting done and learn about it and meet the people who are doing it and let them meet you and get to know you and that hopefully will lead to some opportunities. 


On Self-Care

Bringing People Together Over Meals


My favorite self-care practice is cooking. I love to cook. It's my happy place. I love bringing people together over food and over meals. I love cooking soups. I love having big kinds of community style, big family, dinner, and pots of food. Always brings people in. 


On How She Starts Her Day

Giving Thanks for the Safety of Herself and Her Family


I start my day by walking my dog and drinking my coffee. And it's actually interesting, Sigalle, because you started our discussion today about having a grateful moment. I actually really try to start every day by waking up and being thankful. Not only that I woke up, but that I'm in a safe and good place and that my family is also. 


Lawyers Who Lead is a weekly podcast that celebrates lawyers who are making powerful changes through extraordinary leadership. Each week, Lawline’s Chief Storyteller, Sigalle Barness, interviews a lawyer who is driving meaningful change in the legal industry. Guests represent a diverse and exciting range of experiences but with one common thread, the pursuit of bettering the legal profession. 

Each episode explores the guest’s journey to leadership, the underlying principles that helped them make an impact, and devises ways listeners can apply these concepts in their own lives.

Subscribe or follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Audible, or anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts. You can also follow @lawyerswholead on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Let's celebrate and continue to build a community of leaders in law together.

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About the Author

Written by Sigalle Barness

Sigalle champions and grows Lawline’s brand awareness through impactful stories that are authentic, meaningful, and thought provoking. She designs communications strategies that underscore the why and how behind Lawline's work. Sigalle is an avid lover of music, video games, blogging, asking questions and all things food. She is also fluent in Hebrew and enjoys writing fiction, traveling and scuba diving.


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