An Interview with ACBA Board President Elect Lauren Powe

ACBA Past-President Michael Johnson sat down with three of our newer young board members to introduce them to our membership and show their journey to leadership. First in our series is Lauren Powe.

About Lauren

Lauren Powe
Lauren Powe, ACBA President-Elect

Lauren Powe is a Deputy Attorney General with Department of Justice in the Employment and Administrative Mandate Section.

She served as the 2014 ACBA Barristers Executive Committee Chair. Lauren was the 2015 recipient of the ACBA Distinguished Service Award for New Lawyers. Lauren was the 2018 outgoing Chair of the California Young Lawyers Association Board and Secretary of the Earl Warren American Inns of Court Board.

Lauren earned her BA in Intensive British Literature from UC Santa Cruz and her JD from Golden Gate University School of Law. She is also a certified mediator for general civil litigation disputes.

While in law school, Lauren was a law clerk for the City Attorney’s Office of San Francisco, the Law Offices of Johnson P. Lazaro, and McGuinn, Hillsman & Palefsky. After passing the bar, she was an Associate at Law Office of Roy S. Gordet, working on trademark law.

Lauren then worked as an associate with ACBA Leadership Firm Bennett, Samuelsen, Reynolds, Allard, Cowperthwaite & Gelini, where her practice included personal injury, toxic tort defense, and general civil and trial practice. She then worked at the California State Compensation Insurance Fund until she joined the DOJ in 2018.

The Interview

Please describe your experience coming up through the ranks of ACBA, e.g., how did you become involved with ACBA, what was your experience in your first ACBA leadership role, how have progressed to the ACBA Board of Directors?  

I joined the ACBA through my firm – they automatically enroll everyone in the firm in the bar association. Upon receipt of the hard copy of the ACBA directory I saw a friend/colleague on the cover – Pam Kong as the Chair of Barristers. I called her and said hello. She invited me to come to the Barristers Ex Com. I did and met Stephanie Sato whose then firm was down the hall from my firm. I continued to attend the Ex Com meetings eventually working up the ranks from Secretary to Chair. My year as Chair was the year the ACBA Board decided to not have an official Barrister’s seat on the Board. I applied to be on the ACBA Board after my term had ended as Chair. By that point I knew Stephanie Sato quite well and had received the ACBA Distinguished Service Award for Barrister.

What impact (if any) has your participation in ACBA leadership had on your professional development?

I think ACBA leadership reflects well on my resume. By being a Board member and an active member of the ACBA, I have met more and more people. I have been able to connect attorneys to each other and I am happy to say I have formed a number of friendships which have enhanced and expanded my professional development. I have met mentors and been a mentor to those who ask.

Have you used what you’ve learned as an ACBA Board Member in other aspects of your career?  

ACBA Board membership has assisted in my navigation of interoffice politics, how to argue and discuss matters diplomatically, and, again, introduced me to attorneys I strive to emulate and consider friends. I can ask advice on certain matters due to the connections made at the ACBA Board level.

Do you feel that you have become a better lawyer and leader because of your participation on the ACBA board? 

I feel as though I am a better, more well-rounded, and engaged lawyer due to my membership on the ACBA Board. I also feel that the ACBA Board has help hone my leadership aspirations by giving me a path to follow and a place to flex my leadership muscles.

How has your view of the Bar Association evolved from when you first engaged the ACBA until now as a Board Member?

My trepidation as a new attorney and having connections (or few connections) made me nervous to attend events and slightly colored my involvement with the ACBA. Now as a Board member I have the confidence and the knowledge that it is likely that I will run into someone I know at an event and even if I don’t, I am afforded the opportunity to meet new people and expand my network of colleagues. My familiarity with the ACBA and its membership allows me the ability to assist and direct new members to others who can be of assistance or knowledge. My view and participation with the ACBA has deepened, expanded, and definitely evolved from when I first engaged with the ACBA.

Interested in getting more involved with the ACBA?

We’re looking forward to your year as President Lauren, thank you for your service! If you are interested in learning more about the ACBA Board of Directors, please reach out to Tiela Chalmers at tiela@acbanet.org.