Meet “Lawyer’s Lawyer” Seattle Attorney Lori Worthington Hurl
Q: Why did you decide to attend law school?
LWH: I began negotiating, as many toddlers do, at the dinner table. I was somewhat successful and continued to hone those skills during my childhood. My dad was a litigator, but I would be lying if I claimed I always knew I wanted to go to law school. During college, I was on the fence about whether I wanted to go to business school or law school. One week I happened to be visiting my hometown when my dad was trying a products liability case. He got a defense verdict for his client who had serviced the plaintiff’s car right before the tire fell off. I remember thinking: “I want to do that.”
Q: What expectations did you have after graduating and receiving your law degree?
LWH: I do not remember what my expectations were, but I can tell you that I did not expect to fail so much. As a new lawyer, you will make countless mistakes; but you learn more by failing than succeeding.
Q: What is your approach or philosophy to winning or representing a case?
LWH: Winning a case is figuring out what your client’s objective is early on and doing everything you can to reach that goal; sometimes (and often times) settling is winning.
Q: Can you share with our audience, the types of law you specialize in?
LWH: I primarily practice legal malpractice defense. I’m a lawyer’s lawyer.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career as an Attorney?
LWH: Do it. Even though law schools are evenly split, women make up less than 20% of equity partners in private practice. No one will tell you that it is easy being a female lawyer, or else the numbers would not be so skewed. I am so thankful for some of the advice I got from my dad as a young associate. I remember him telling me I should never tell opposing counsel that I had to run something by a more senior attorney in my firm before I could consent. Instead, he told me to tell the lawyer that I would think it over and get back to them. Confidence is key as a lawyer. As a young lawyer, especially as a woman, you will need to “fake it ‘till you make it.”
Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?
LWH: One summer in high school, I worked in the swimsuit section at a department store. I cannot think of a worse department. Women would go into the dressing rooms with 20 different bikinis and leave them scattered on the floor. It was impossible to find the matching tops and bottoms, so we were told to find anything that looked similar and put it back on the racks. I hated every minute. After two days of working there, I realized I did not have to be miserable, and I applied to another clothing store that did not sell swimsuits. Even though I continued to work in the retail industry, I now loved coming into work. The experience taught me that life is what you make of it. If you hate what you are doing, it is up to you to make a change.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
LWH: My mom inspires me. She was a successful real estate agent for 25 years. She always made her family, or her clients feel like they were the only thing that mattered and her priority. She excelled in her career, gave back to her community, and always put family first, including me. She did all this with ease, grace, and a generous spirit.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
LWH: Stay in touch with the women in your life that inspire you because they will keep you going, even when you are at your lowest. I have stayed in close touch with five of my law school classmates, and through a text string we provide tremendous support to one another. We have lamented about everything from unreasonable clients to juggling work and being a mom, and it is because we know that we are not alone in our struggles that we have come out stronger on the other side. I am also thankful to be on the board of the Mother Attorney Mentoring Association of Seattle (“MAMA Seattle”). MAMA Seattle is an organization designed to empower attorney mothers and encourage professional success. The organization is made up of hard-working attorney moms who strive to make improvements for the next generation of female attorneys.
Q: How do you maintain a healthy work life balance?
LWH: Delegating is key. Whether it is household chores or caseload management, I ask myself if this is something I should be doing or if this something somebody else should be doing.
Five Things About Lori Worthington Hurl
1.If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Sandra Day O’Connor. She graduated third in her class at Stanford and could not land a paying job after graduation. She helped pave the way for women to be taken seriously as lawyers and is an example of female empowerment.
2. What were you like as a student?
This is where I instituted a strong work-life balance. I viewed my home as my sanctuary, so I did all of my studying at the library. For most of my career, I have tried to limit the amount of time I work at home so that I can be physically and mentally present with my kids and with my husband.
3.If you were a superhero, what would your special powers be?
Freezing time; I always wanted to be Evie from Out of This World.
4.What app can’t you live without?
Amazon Music - having a playlist keeps me motivated and inspired.
Why? I visited Charleston a few years ago and am dying to go back. I loved its charm, culture, hospitality, and history.