Bryony J. Whitaker, Attorney
What is your definition of success?
I define success as maintaining a happy family life with my husband and two pups, balanced with a dynamic career where I’m dealt new challenges. Not to harp on the alleged mythical unicorn that is the ‘work life balance’ bandwagon, but I really do believe it is possible! Something that I’m still learning as I go along is to set boundaries to make sure that I can maintain this balance. It can be like putting down a fascinating Sudoku puzzle at times. I’m glad that I work with people who make this possible.
What’s the most unique part about working at LDM?
I would say the level of involvement associates are given in handling cases and formulating strategy. I have been in a super unique perspective from the standpoint of being a part of our recently established Des Moines branch! I now have experience with every part of a case; from its inception to its resolution. I can also look at a case and come up with creative solutions to further our goals.
What’s one thing — either industry-related or not — you learned in the last month?
One thing I’ve loved getting to know in the last month is the business side of how a law firm operates. With the goal of eventually becoming partner at the firm, I think it’s super helpful when they get younger associates involved in these conversations. That way, when we work our way up, we can make informed decisions about the way that the firm is run and managed!
What’s advice would you provide to someone interested in becoming an attorney?
Step 1: figure out whether you actually want to be an attorney. To explain this a little more, I know a whole host of people with completely different personalities that all make phenomenal attorneys. A lot of the time, I think there is a misconception that you need to be the loudest or most argumentative person to become an attorney. This is just not true! What you do need, however, is to be passionate about your career. Becoming an attorney is hard work, and can cost a whole lot of money. Practicing as an attorney can also be hard work. If the only reason you are interested in going to law school is because you’ve been pressured by your family, are using it as a stepping stone for another career, or are thinking about it simply because you don’t know what else you would do, I can promise that it would be a whole lot less time, expense and effort to pursue another career!
If you decide that the law is for you then…
Step 2: figure out your authentic style and lean into it (this sounds cheesy but it’s true)! I have spent a lot of time wondering how my accent, personality and background would be received in the world of litigation. How would an Iowan jury view me? Would I be able to connect with my clients? How should I handle depositions? What I began to realize is that the best lawyers lean into who they genuinely are. If I were to attempt to mask my accent or hide my background, everyone would know that I was being disingenuous. Instead, I leaned into my quirks, and quickly found that there are a whole host of ways we can relate to the people we work with!
What are you currently reading, binge-watching or listening to?
I am currently re-watching the Netflix series ‘The Rain.’ I’m a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic! Would 10/10 recommend if you can get past subtitles.
What is your favorite American food?
It would have to be a toss up between the BBQ and the breakfasts! I also love that wherever you go, you’ll always have enough food for a week. I’ve got to say though, I miss British bread and chocolate…