July 25, 2014

What Makes a Veteran Lawyer Tick? Doug Wright Shares his Insight in Law Week Colorado

For more than 35 years Doug Wright has been advising clients on a range of corporate legal issues. A former chairman of the Business Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association, Wright and other top lawyers in Denver, were interviewed by Law Week Colorado for their Managing Partner Roundtable series.

Wright looked back on his career as a lawyer as well as reflected on the new crop of lawyers that will follow in his footsteps. He explained that his legal career started during the boom and bust days of the 80s and 90s, which forced him to view his legal practice in a more entrepreneurial nature. "I came [to Denver] in 1991 when the economy was booming, the oil business was great, and then it disappeared literally overnight. So I had to become an entrepreneur to be successful in the legal business, and that's carried through in my career for as long as I've been a practicing lawyer," said Wright.

Wright stressed the importance of the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Boulder in providing law students with practical experience. "It's a great way for younger lawyers to get introduced to complex legal problems and also to network and meet other people." In addition to the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, Wright said that being involved in community organizations that aren't necessarily legal in nature is also key to fostering growth in young lawyers. "What I think Faegre Baker Daniels has done at a senior level is really encourage our younger lawyers to get involved in community organizations, because that is a way for them to gain experience and make contacts with other people in the business world that may or may not lead to business."

The recent recession was also a topic of discussion at the roundtable. Wright noted that firms that thought strategically about the future rather than simply doing damage control during the recession will be the ones to thrive in the new economy. "Some folks battened down the hatches, and they haven't un-battened those hatches. They just took an approach that said, our profits are being impacted, we need to cut and we're not going to change, we're not going to change coming out of the recession. Other firms, and I'd like to think our firm is the latter, are willing to make investments in people and technology and processes to make the firm sustainable over a period of time."

Coming out of the recession, Wright sees hope for the future of the Colorado economy as it becomes more international in nature. "It's amazing the amount of international business that we're doing in this state now. I think the opportunities are tremendous for law firms, lawyers, businesses in this community. And if there's one area where I would say we probably could be stronger as a legal community, it would be having more lawyers who have that kind of international experience."
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