From time to time (but not nearly regularly enough), I review my website bio to see if it needs tweaking, substantively or otherwise. I am fortunate enough to earn different honors, so if nothing else, those may require an update. In addition to the lawyering I do, as described somewhat atypically below, I am one of the Firm’s website administrator’s (IT is part of my job description now). That gets me on the inside of this website pretty regularly. So with this visit to make adjustments to content, I am giving my biography a tune up, keeping it somewhat different from the obvious and typical. Recognizing that a wide range of people may read a biography such as this (clients; potential clients; adversaries; colleagues; former students; other?), and that each will likely focus on something a little different, I share the following…
I graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1994 with fancy Latin words after my degree. After graduating, I avoided a real law firm job. I secured an appellate law clerk position on the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. That was a good year – state employee with government hours. I miss those days (not really, but the hours and days off were nice). I also learned how to write an appellate legal decision like a champ.
I began real lawyering in 1995 and have been practicing management-side labor and employment law since my very first day (even though I had no clue what a labor lawyer was when I started). Luckily, it worked out I like being one. That is one of things about which I am most proud. I have only been one kind of lawyer my entire lawyer life.
I am very loyal to my firm. I started with Kollman & Saucier, P.A. as an associate, from 1995 through 2001. In November 2001, I took an eight-year sabbatical and worked with another well-respected Baltimore management labor and employment law firm, which happened to be in the same building as Kollman. Although it made for some awkward elevator rides in the beginning, it all worked out in the end. This way I could stay close by.
I returned to Kollman a partner in November 2009, and have been making it happen ever since. This is a great place to practice law. My partners are smart and I am thankful for the friendships I have with them. Our associates and support staff are intelligent, practical, sincere and reliable. We all know each other, our families, and like to work together. We talk, and not just about legal stuff. They know real things about my life outside of the office, just as I do of theirs. When practicing a field of law that can get heated, contentious and charged at times, I am thankful that I actually like walking into the front door every day. It is a large part of why I devote my time and energy here, and for my clients.
Ah, yes. Clients. I represent employers in all areas of labor and employment law, and in all venues (agencies, trial courts, appellate courts, both state and federal). My clients are fantastic businesses and entities looking to do the right thing. They rely on me for assistance in that regard. I am happy to provide it. When needed, I will defend against claims of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation under the multitude of employment statutes out there — Title VII, FMLA, FLSA, ADEA and ADA, and so on, state law employment disputes, and the extras that comes along with that process. I also (thanks to Frank Kollman who took me under his wing on my very first lawyer day in 1995) have significant experience defending against federal and state OSHA violations, from the de minimus up through willful fatalities.
While I love the good litigation fight, I best serve my clients when I provide advice and counsel on personnel matters to avoid litigation. I want my clients to understand all of their options, and make the best decision for them from a legal and practical perspective. If I had to pick a slogan it would be: employment decisions today should not result in lawsuits tomorrow.
I thoroughly enjoy conducting training for managers and non-management staff. I get to put names and faces together (much of what I do is by phone and email), and this is my chance to make sure people understand the workplace obligations, responsibilities, and nuances out there, and provides an extra opportunity to educate and avoid litigation.
Here is the stuff that matters mostly to other lawyers. I am an AV-rated attorney, and have been selected to SuperLawyers since 2014. I have been recognized as a Woman Leader in the Law; a Washington and Baltimore – Labor and Employment Top-Rated Lawyer by ALM Legal Leaders; and have been awarded a perfect “10.0” rating from Avvo.
Once upon a time, I was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Baltimore School of Law, where I taught Legal Writing and Employment Law. I no longer teach but I remain connected to UB by serving as a mentor to first-year law students. I find law students are much calmer then when I was in law school.
I also do the writing thing. I have been a contributing editor for multiple labor and employment law treatises, including Matthew Bender’s “An Employer’s Guide to the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” “The Americans with Disabilities Act,” “Employee Discipline and Discharge” and “The Employment Law Deskbook.” I was a Contributing Editor for the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law’s Publication: The Fair Labor Standards Act.
In case anyone out there wants to bond over college (in Baltimore I know it is all about where you went to high school, but I did not grow up here so we can skip that), I went to Virginia Tech, started as an Engineering major, but took a quick detour after a horrendous calculus class, and landed in Sociology and Political Science. From there, law school happened because no one was hiring sociology majors.
I am married to a local Baltimore guy (Randallstown High School ’86 in case you were curious) and we have two kids. My daughter is an amazing field hockey goalie, in addition to being really smart, and is thoroughly enjoying her freshman year in college. We will be making regular trips to Memphis to watch her play. My son plays lacrosse and way too much Xbox. He is smart, kind, funny and athletic. They are awesome and keep it very real for me. I am active at his school (I can no longer say “their school” given my daughter is a graduate), and have been an Executive Board Member of the Parent Association since 2009. I am much better working with adults than volunteering in a classroom – I know my strengths and weaknesses.
Hang in there, almost finished…. I spent many years running and have competed in dozens of various distance races. My last long distance event was the 2013 Chicago Marathon. I will not do another marathon but I have kept up with running by taking on the Annapolis 10-miler nearly every year. In May 2013, I discovered CrossFit. I cannot describe what that sport has done for me. It makes me better at everything. I finally took the L-1 course in April 2017, and it was so much more impactful than I expected. Like lawyering, CrossFit will always be a part of my life. I even do burpees for fun.