Laura Barzilai is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and global leader of the Tax, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice. Laura is based in Sidley’s New York office and has more than 30 years of experience as a transactional tax and tax controversy lawyer.
“Moving to Sidley where I became a partner while working on reduced hours was a game-changer for me. My children are now grown, I’m working full-time, and I became global head of our Tax, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation group.”
What attracted you to the practice of law and what aspect of your practice do you enjoy the most?
The relationships that you build with your clients, coupled with the intellectual challenge of the law, are what initially drew me to the practice. Those aspects, plus the ability to analyze complex tax issues in collaboration with colleagues who are among the best in the field, are what continue to bring me professional satisfaction.
Tell us about a professional goal you are proud of achieving, and what (or who) inspired you to go for it.
When I was a lawyer with young children, I worked reduced hours and, in those days, that meant taking myself off partner track. Moving to Sidley where I became a partner while working on reduced hours was a game-changer for me. My children are now grown, I’m working full-time, and with the support of my partners, I became global head of our Tax, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation group and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Laura of 1991 would not believe where Laura of 2021 is.
On a personal note, what has been your go-to self-care activity in this remote work environment?
Peloton workouts have been a part of almost every day, and this winter I started knitting again which helps make binge-watching feel like productive time.
Can you share with us a saying or quote that gives you inspiration or helps you stay centered?
When I would get stressed as a young lawyer, my father would tell me “One foxhole at a time” and “Don’t watch the scoreboard.” A small rug that my father had in his office now hangs in my office and when I need some centering, I can look at the rug and hear his advice. I’m also fortunate that I can still call him up and hear him say it out loud.