After a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court on a family vacation, Linda Emery decided at 8 years old that she would be a lawyer.
“I think it was because they have an elevator operator,” Emery deadpanned. “I thought that was really cool. That’s the mind of an 8 year old.”
Going into law is exactly what Emery ended up doing. Now a shareholder and chair of von Briesen & Roper’s information, data privacy and security section, she got her degree from Georgetown University Law Center and spent her career either in private practice or working as in-house counsel.
Her ability to navigate complicated, rapidly changing areas of the law such as privacy and data security comes in part from the time she spent working at Charter, an Internet and cable company now known as Spectrum. Before that, Emery spent 13 years in private practice before being recruited by Charter, a client at the time, to work in-house. This happened during the so-called dotcom bubble that eventually brought parts of the technology industry to its knees.
“I had access to working with people in the entertainment industry and Silicon Valley area that allowed me to learn aspects of the technology world that if I had stayed in private practice, I wouldn’t have had exposure to,” she said. “I was working there at an extraordinary time.”
Beyond tending to clients and keeping up to speed on the law and technology, Emery now makes time to help other lawyers and staff workers at the firm, no matter whether they work in her section or not.
“I think it’s how I’m wired — it’s just my personality to some extent,” Emery said. “I had the privilege of someone doing that for me in private practice and at Charter. I view it as my job to give back.”
Emery said she is also working hard at von Briesen to give the clients the best representation possible while also making sure she has time for her personal life.
“I have a really amazing administrative assistant, great team of lawyers and I’m not afraid to ask for help from my friends and family,” she said.
One of the biggest influences on Emery’s professional life was a founder of Charter, Jerry Kent, who imparted important lessons about working with others and maintaining a work-life balance.
Emery recalls how Kent left in the middle of negotiation meetings on a Sunday because he had promised to take his young son to a movie.
“And then he went back to sell this company for multibillions of dollars,” Emery said. “That taught me a ton about making sure that you understand priorities in life.”