Cynthia Rigsby is quick to acknowledge that she was naïve when she first decided to study law.
Having no lawyers in her family to provide an example, she really had no idea what she was in for. Like so many other people in a similar situation, her ideas of what legal practice entailed came from TV.
All this is not to say, though, that her family has had no influence on her career. Rigsby said she was drawn to business law in part from seeing her parents contend with various legal matters while running an independent hunting-and-fishing store in Tennessee.
Rigsby said she also had once assumed she would run her own small practice. But when she ended up doing well at Marquette Law School, she found herself being recruited by Foley & Lardner.
That is where she has been ever since.
“I didn’t recognize the breadth of the law and the many different ways you can be a lawyer,” she said. “I’m still discovering that, which I think is great.”
Rigsby is now a partner and intellectual-property attorney at Foley. She is a member of the firm’s IP litigation practice, international practice and medical-device initiative, and helped start its fashion, apparel and beauty practice. She works on licensing and disputes over patents, copyrights, trade secrets and other complex commercial matters.
In nominating Rigsby, Linda Benfield, another partner at Foley, said, “In addition to her legal acumen, Cynthia is entrepreneurial, playing a significant role in establishing the firm’s Fashion, Apparel and Beauty Practice. “
“I’m doing all kinds of things that I couldn’t imagine when I first went to law school,” Rigsby said. “But, as your practice expands in that way, you can work more closely and deeply with your clients. And you get a lot of satisfaction.”