Laura Frederick is a commercial contracts attorney with 25 years of experience at international law firms like Morrison & Foerster and cutting edge companies like Tesla.
She is the Managing Attorney at Laura Frederick Law PLLC, a boutique law firm in Austin, Texas that helps sophisticated businesses with their vendor contracts. She also is the Founder and President of How to Contract, a training and skills platform for lawyers and professionals to learn how we draft and negotiate contracts in the real world. How to Contract features a robust community of 240+ contract enthusiasts in the How to Contract Network. Laura posts daily practical contract tips on LinkedIn (you can follow her here).
Last year, she published Practical Tips on How to Contract, a best-selling book full of practical drafting and negotiating contract techniques and tactics in her book.
I met Laura on LinkedIn (of course!) – and I love her voice on LinkedIn and her uniqueness on the platform. She really does stand out in the sea of sameness with so many lawyers. Learn more about her in this Women Who Wow profile.
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
Be yourself. You don’t have to be anything different from who you are. If you find yourself in a job that doesn’t support you as you are, get a new job. This is not to say that we should sit on our laurels and not try to improve and grow. That is essential. But we must find work and purpose that match our values and personality.
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
Tackle your fear. I really wish I had made the time to do therapy before my life fell to pieces. I see it all too often with other over-achiever women. We push forward, out-working and out-committing everyone around us. First comes work and children. Then comes our partner and other family. Last comes us. I accepted that as my reality for way too many years. Even as I was falling apart inside, I kept moving forward without paying attention to all my internal distress. I was 42 when I first went to therapy and only did so because of the crisis in my marriage. I’ve been in and out since then. It gave and still gives me the strength and awareness to make better choices for my career and life. I learned to embrace my fear and move through it instead of just avoiding it. If I had started therapy in my 20s, I could have avoided a lot of the bad choices and heartaches that I endured for many years.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
The biggest turning point for me was when I realized that just because my employer made a choice to understaff my workload does not mean that I have to work 24/7. Yes, I work hard and earn every penny of my salary. But I don’t have to work all day and night just because I’m the only one to do it. I do my best but that is the best I can do. I set flexible limits on exact hours but set a fixed overall limit each week. If I work 16-hour days a few days, then I work 3 to 4 hour days after that. It is up to us to put in place boundaries that allow us to continue to perform to the best of our ability. We are the only ones who know what that is. Your boss doesn’t know. Your clients don’t know. You can’t blame them for wanting you to help them solve problems. We have to own and put limits on how much we can do.