While current students interviewed for summer associate positions over the past few months, Ann Taylor, a 1992 graduate of the law school, celebrated 15 years of work at Lord, Bissell & Brook LLP in Chicago. It all began, she said, with a summer associate position following her second year. Like most current students, Taylor’s legal interests were varied, but it was her experience at the law school that helped guide her career path.
Taylor served as an Urban Morgan Fellow while at UC Law. This relationship enabled her to utilize her connections with Urban Morgan Institute Director Bert Lockwood to become involved with pro-bono work on the United Nations Special Commission on Bosnian War Crimes in 1993. “We analyzed refugee statements and pieced together evidence to prepare reports on the alleged war crimes,” said Taylor. Her time at law school was enjoyable. “There were very few classes I didn’t like,” Taylor commented. “I loved Professor John Murphy’s Contracts class. He made it interesting and easy to learn.”
Laying the foundation…
With undergraduate degrees in Economics and International Studies from Miami University of Ohio, Taylor’s interest in international law was natural. Her time spent in Luxembourg through Miami’s study abroad program her junior year allowed her to experience the laws of another country first hand. Following graduation from Miami in 1983, Taylor entered the political arena working as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1987, she began work as a presidential appointee in the Office of the Secretary of Labor where she examined workers' rights in the context of trade. “Workers' rights internationally are very important to the United States government,” Taylor explained. “I studied and compared workers' rights in different countries and reported my findings.” Though she enjoyed her work in the Department of Labor she noticed a trend. “The jobs were really interesting and fun, but as I was promoted and had more senior responsibilities I realized that most of my colleagues had their law degrees.”
Her first legal argument…
Because Taylor resided in Ohio before taking her temporary positions with the House of Representatives and the Department of Labor, her residency status should have remained in Ohio. But as typically happens, some problems cropped up. “My first legal argument was convincing law schools in Ohio that I was an Ohio resident for tuition purposes,” joked Taylor. Because her initial work in Washington DC was for Congressman Del Latta from Northwest Ohio, Taylor was able to maintain her Ohio residency status. With a four-year-old LSAT score in her back pocket, Taylor submitted her applications and weighed her options. She made a decision to return to Ohio to attend UC Law full-time instead of attending Georgetown or George Washington on a part-time basis.
Into the wild blue yonder…
Although international law was an interest of Taylor’s, she dabbled in several areas while attending classes at the law school. Many law students would be surprised to learn that a love of contracts, torts, and other fields of law fit neatly into the aviation field. Taylor has practiced in the fields of aviation, insurance, and product liability but focuses mainly on aviation-related litigation. “It’s a small niche area,” Taylor noted. “But I love it because it’s a very specific area of law, with general applicability. The aviation industry is very loyal to each other; so if you understand their products they like to give you their business,” she added.
Taylor specializes in mass torts and mass disaster airplane crashes. She also litigates large disputes between international aviation companies and their insurers. “Anything that involves aviation, I’ve done it,” Taylor exclaimed. She plans to continue the work that she has grown to love. “I think with any attorney, at some point you develop a specialty and contacts and personal relationships with your clients,” she said. She admits that it can be emotional work. “The mass disasters have an element of emotion to them. I oftentimes have to depose a person who has lost a family member in a plane crash or disaster. There are a lot of emotions there for a whole nation to think about following recent tragedies,” she said. “Reading transcripts of telephone conversations that went on between flight attendants and carrier airlines during the hijacking was heart-wrenching at times,” she added. Still, she maintains that she has a job to do for the aviation industry. “I’m retained to provide the best counsel litigation strategies possible to defend the aviation industry,” she stressed.
All work… and some play
In her spare time, Taylor enjoys skiing in Utah with husband Steve, a fellow attorney who works at another law firm in Chicago. “We go to London three or four times a year because I love the city,” she said. “We also have a small cottage right off of Lake Michigan where we go to kayak and swim.”