Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Login
BROWSE
Bloomberg Law
Welcome
Login
Advanced Search Go
Free Newsletter Sign Up

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Laura Turano of Paul Weiss

July 28, 2022, 9:01 AM

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.
I helped Teladoc acquire Livongo in the largest-ever virtual health deal. Our challenge was to deliver the deal on our client’s timeline—which was extremely fast to signing and closing. It came together because we worked as a team and were super prepared.

More recently, I guided 3G Capital through its cross-border acquisition of Hunter Douglas. We developed a transaction structure never seen before in the Netherlands, where Hunter Douglas was based, in Curaçao, where it’s incorporated, or in the US. To pull off the impossible was truly fantastic.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?
I learned early on the importance of a tireless work ethic, selfless client service and superior preparation. As a junior lawyer, you can still play a key role in the deal by being indispensable. If you do your homework and truly care about the client’s goals, the client will rely on you and trust you, regardless of your age or seniority level.

Great preparation is the best way to overcome lack of experience. For one of my first-ever deals, Mitsubishi’s acquisition of Jackson Square Aviation, I asked for and was given as much responsibility as I could be given, which was a hugely valuable experience.

During the deal, I didn’t just log hours—I relentlessly self-educated and worked hard to appreciate the overall objective of the deal. I was always ready to answer a question and be a lifeline for the client, a fundamental part of my role as partner today. When the time came, I was the only member of that team to travel for in-person negotiations.

How do you define success in your practice?
Success is achieving my client’s goal. Though it may sound simple, there are many components to this: communicating constructively, anticipating and solving issues, reducing complexity wherever possible. However, the most important part of above-and-beyond client service is having the best team. For some lawyers it can be hard to resist the urge to be a star and do everything for your client, but the strength of an entire team will deliver incredible results.

I take a lot of pride in assembling strong deal teams and meeting even the most aggressive deadlines. During a recent deal, an important deadline was moved up suddenly and significantly. Because I had a strong, well-prepared team in place, we calmly made the necessary adjustments and successfully delivered on the new timeline. I find it immensely important to help my teammates shine, and it was exciting to see my client trust my team as a whole.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?
We were told that so many of the deals we worked on this past year—IBM, 3G, PRA Health, Baker Hughes—were impossible or difficult in some way, and we did them anyway. We had teams of super-smart lawyers who understood the issues, could see how to potentially solve them, and were driven to adopt the philosophy of “impossible is possible.” I always encourage my team to start with a “yes” (let’s figure this out) rather than a “no” (this can’t or isn’t done).

On top of that, each of my deal teams over the last year were majority women, LGBTQ+ and/or associates of color. Being able to look around the room and see a diverse and inclusive deal team is especially gratifying. It’s more than simply a matter of diversity statistics; it’s beneficial to the client to look at the deal team holistically and build a well-matched group across all levels of seniority. This involves balancing several objectives, such as letting my junior colleagues shine in areas of strength, acquire new skills, get leadership experience, and interact with clients and stakeholders. These “impossible” deals are actually opportunities for members of the team to step up and make it happen.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?
It’s a privilege to learn from [firm partner] Scott Barshay, one of the nation’s best dealmakers. Scott teaches complete dedication to the client’s objectives.

Scott also understands the value of empathy in a deal. As a woman in the M&A world, one may feel compelled to suppress qualities not commonly seen at the deal table. Scott knows that if a client wants a done deal, it’s imperative to see the terms from the counterparty’s perspective, as well as the client’s. He embraces this quality, and also actively supports my efforts to promote other female lawyers and attorneys of color.

Just for fun, tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.
I love high-energy Latin/dance music. I’m a horseback rider; if you catch me at the barn, you’ll find me listening to Pitbull XM radio. I lived in Spain and Latin America before law school, and went to undergrad at the University of Miami.

Laura Turano is chair of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) East Young Lawyers Committee, which provides programming to help position junior women lawyers from Big Law firms as future leaders. She is also a member of the advisory board of the NYU Law Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at lhelem@bloombergindustry.com; Kibkabe Araya in Washington at karaya@bloombergindustry.com