The lawyers at Brownson & Linnihan PLLP are recognized across the nation for their expertise in representing corporations and insurance companies in litigation and regulatory matters. This aggressive, progressive and surprisingly small firm of seven attorneys understands that to continue winning in big law, they must embrace new technologies, new methods and new perspectives. Developing bright young legal talent is a vital part of their success, and the firm has recently welcomed two extraordinary young lawyers who are both superstars on the rise.
As a young lawyer practicing regulatory law, Lindsey Streicher has found this ever-changing area to challenge her to become a leader in this field.
Throughout her childhood in a small town in Wisconsin, Lindsey Streicher recognized something unique in how people interacted with and regarded attorneys, and in particular, her uncle, a criminal defense attorney in faraway Seattle
“I saw the regard my mom and others had for my uncle. I also had great admiration for his intellect and commanding presence, qualities I came to associate with being an attorney. It was for these reasons that I began embarking on the journey to becoming an attorney.”
The oldest of three girls, Streicher described her parents as supportive and driven individuals, who afforded her the opportunities and tools to pursue her legal endeavors. Streicher cultivated her passion for law through high school and was selected to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington D.C. That profound experience cemented her path. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and, subsequently, her paralegal certificate from Hamline University, before finally completing her legal education at William Mitchell College of Law, cum laude. While there, she received dean’s list honors, and was recognized as a top orator and brief writer in the Rosalie Wahl Moot Court.
“I had the advantage of going to law school aft er working in the real legal world, which put me ahead in terms of my writing and research skills. It also allowed me to see the value in pursuing every opportunity to gain experience through externships and clerkships. I focused on refining my professional abilities while there.”
This tenacious and self-motivated young attorney joined a larger law firm, where she earned the notice of Brownson & Linnihan and was invited to join the firm last year. She has since devoted her talents to the practice of regulatory law. Streicher is particularly adept at tracking the rapidly changing regulatory climate. She has participated in OSHA and FDA regulatory and enforcement matters across several states and in federal court. Her gift for parsing through complicated systems, and her steady hand at negotiation, are proving great assets to her clients and colleagues.
At Brownson & Linnihan, Streicher has felt she is a crucial and contributing member of her firm.
“When the senior attorneys here ask if you have ideas for improving the firm or for making something more efficient or economical, they actually consider your input, which allows a young attorney to feel he or she has a real impact here.”
Streicher has contributed to the firm’s innovative, tech-forward culture by establishing and managing its blog and Twitter account. “The blog is a good way to showcase our writing and publish quickly about issues that impact our clients. Twitter is a forum where we can get involved in the legal conversation and stay up-to-date on the exchange of information.”
For example, Streicher used the firm blog to announce important regulatory changes, oft en beating the so-called “experts” to the punch.
Streicher observed, “It’s great to be a young lawyer and feel valued and heard by people you respect and who are respected in the community. I’m not just a cog in the system turning out work product for the firm. I really value that about my experience here.”
Joining a technologically advanced boutique law firm has allowed Olivia Cooper to excel in the complex world of insurance litigation.
Growing up in a small, Illinois town with her parents and twin brother, Olivia Cooper established an early reputation as a high achiever. As a competition swimmer from the age of 5 to college, her years in the pool helped prime her for a career in law.
“Besides the example of my parents, swimming taught me the meaning of hard work,” Cooper said. “It’s a very individual sport where you learn to challenge yourself and test your own limits. I have found that litigation is also a way to ‘step up to the block,’ with every case, client and argument bringing a new challenge. It’s why I became a lawyer. This is an environment where I can step out of my comfort zone every day, and it’s exciting.”
After completing a triple-major undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, Cooper went to law school at the University of Minnesota. While there, she distinguished herself by serving as secretary of the litigation and trial advocacy group, and student director of the University’s Maynard Pirsig Moot Court and Civil Practice Clinic. She also served as a judicial extern to U.S. District Judge John Tunheim. And, of course, she graduated with honors.
It is no surprise that one of Cooper’s professors recommended her to Kristi Brownson, and that a subsequent interview resulted in an offer to join the firm.
Cooper said, “I never thought I’d be practicing insurance coverage litigation, but I am glad that the opportunity presented itself. I’ve fallen in love with it. The many nuances and complexities of the practice constantly force me to learn, think, research and write differently. This area of law requires lawyers to take very complex issues and simplify them to make cogent arguments. I love that.”
Cooper considers herself fortunate to be a young lawyer in a firm that provides regular opportunities to do meaningful, hands-on work. For example, she has already made appearances in federal court. “It’s great being part of a small firm environment where I can actually get out and practice law. I wanted to be in a firm where I could continue to be taught by partners and associates who are willing to mentor new lawyers.”
Cooper is right at home in a paperless firm that welcomes new technologies, since she is also a millennial and longtime consumer of social media. She recently published a blog, “The #babylawyer Generation: Social Media and the Future of the Legal Profession,” where she addressed the plusses and perils for young lawyers who are tagging and tweeting, and balancing personal transparency with professional ethics and confidentiality.
“Social media has become such a giant part of our lives,” she said. “I think sometimes young professionals don’t see the fine line between posting and presenting themselves in a way that is professional. When I go to the law school to talk to students, it’s one of the things I like to hone in on. When you come out of law school, the people around you will be your colleagues. How you represent yourself from the start is extremely important. Digital tools can help us change the profession for the better, and over time, it will be interesting to see how we bring our cultural norms to the profession.”
Both Lindsey Streicher and Olivia Cooper show up every day striving to be the best. “That’s what we foster here,” Cooper said. “We walk in as the best lawyer in the room, the most prepared, the one who will get the best results for our client. You can tell a lot about someone’s character by how they handle a challenge.”