My Law Journey

Women In Law Edition 22'

Legal Practices


Laura Tanner

Becoming a lawyer was a second career for me. I know this is not a typical approach to a career as a lawyer, but after 15 years as an environmental consultant, I wanted to do something different with my life when my children reached school age. I chose the law and could not be happier with my profession and decision.

While still in school, I was fortunate to intern with the local US Attorney’s office, where I worked on legal memoranda mostly in support of white-collar and environmental prosecutions. I also became involved in a legal clinic supporting a local non-profit organization with environmental concerns. I rounded out my law school experience with an internship with the Utah State Court of Appeals and participation on a moot court team.

I worked for a boutique litigation firm from law school and did cases ranging from small estate planning to personal injury matters. I learned that every client comes to the table with a unique problem, and it was my job to figure out how to best match their personal case with existing laws. Being exposed to so many practice areas was exhilarating, and I very much enjoyed the ability to construct legal arguments to solve clients’ problems.

After five years of litigation, I landed a job with my current company as an in-house attorney. I began as a contract manager but was quickly promoted to the head of litigation. In the corporate litigation capacity, I learned the many areas of law that govern business conduct, which include: employment laws, which cover such areas as wage and hour requirements; minimum wage; protection from discriminatory practices; protected leave and sick pay; business laws, which govern the registration and licensing requirements at both the state and federal levels; and laws specific to our business. I also learned the value of finding and hiring the right defence counsel depending on the business practice. After two trials, one pending trial, and many mediations and arbitrations, I can say without hesitation that the practice of law is as varied and interesting as each individual who practices it.