Ann Corso Taylor (JD 1981)
Who has had a tremendous impact on your career and how did this person help you?
My parents had a great impact on my life and career. They instilled in me the desire and absolute determination to always do my best. Although my father passed away 11 years ago, I can hear him saying, “the strong push on, and the weak fall to the wayside.” Couple that with my mother’s strong admonition to “never be dependent on anyone for money” and the outcome is a female lawyer!
There were several lawyers on my mother’s side of the family, including my grandfather. I recall reading an article about him when I was in law school detailing his legal career, including 20+ year stint as a circuit court judge, beginning at age 60. The article went on to say that he never missed a single day of court. I understand that kind of dedication, and would like to think that I inherited a little bit of his tenacity.
Last but not least, there is Professor Debbie Bell. She taught me Uniform Commercial Code when I was in law school. I was amazed and downright jealous of the sheer organization of her thinking. I got the impression that she approached everything in life by breaking it down in subparagraphs (a), (b) and (c). When studying for the bar exam, I thought to myself –and I am absolutely not kidding—“think like Debbie Bell, think like Debbie Bell.” I still am trying to train my brain to be more like hers!
What unexpected career turns has your career taken?
I began my career practicing as a transactional attorney focusing mainly on real estate and finance and that is my practice today. It is probably more unusual that my practice has remained fairly static than not, as I have seen many lawyers change from one type of practice to another as the years go by and different areas of law have provided opportunities. But the biggest change in my career has been the “way I practice law today.”
In the early days of my practice, I was totally dependent on a secretary for producing my work product, and she was working on a typewriter! I spent many afternoons getting all of my Federal Express packages compiled so I could send drafts of documents all over the country, including copies which were blacklined by hand by my secretary, while under the gun of the dreaded Federal Express deadline. I talked on the phone constantly negotiating documents and discussing transactions. Today, I do most of my own documents (my secretary may dispute the word “most”), and I rarely talk on the phone! Most days I sit in my office silently working on my computer, negotiating documents and transactions all by email. It has been a remarkable ride.
What is one characteristic that you believe is important to being successful and why?
I try to have an attitude of gratefulness in all things. Each day I have a choice to look at the tasks before me as “opportunities” or just the daily grind. After 30 years of practice, I still get excited when someone contacts me about a new matter. I am grateful that clients have allowed me to help in solving their problems, or allowing me to be part of the fulfillment of their goals. It is very satisfying to me to participate in these “opportunities.”
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop in your career?
I learn new things every day. No two transactions are exactly alike, so I am constantly faced with new challenges, and new issues. I have learned that it is important to “stretch” myself by becoming creative in problem solving. Some people think that transactional lawyers just pull forms from a form book, but nothing is further from the truth. I am constantly reading articles about issues that come my way, and access to them is so simple. Additionally, I take advantage of webinars on relevant topics.
Why is supporting the mission of the Bessie Young Council important to you?
I am so grateful to my legal education for a career that has served me well over the years. Because of that gratitude, I want other women to have the same experience. By raising money for scholarships, we can help women who may otherwise not have the opportunity to join the profession. It is also important to me to be a visible demonstration to young women that women can succeed in law, and encourage them to achieve their goals. I am excited about the mentoring opportunities that the Bessie Young Council will provide.
What are your strongest memories from law school?
I remember being totally overwhelmed! I had to learn a new way of thinking, a new way of talking and a new way of writing. So much to learn! And then there were the heavy books. After parking at the Depot and walking up the hill to the old Law School to class lugging all those books, I felt like I was a success if I just made it to class. Spending three years with students facing all the same fears, struggles and hard work resulted in many long lasting friendships. I have a strong connection with those folks who trudged the road with me.