LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2020: Brittany Shaw

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IL photo/Eric Learned

In addition to her impressive career in business law and litigation that has included complex product liability and shareholder dispute cases, among others, Brittany Shaw has a side hustle as a successful Realtor. Starting her own legal consulting firm recently, the former Taft Stettinius & Hollister associate also extends her reach to pro bono cases. Outside her legal and real estate pursuits, she dedicates her time to service efforts such as Indiana Children’s Wish Fund and other worthy community organizations.

In addition to being a successful lawyer, we’re told you closed $2 million in sales as a licensed Realtor last year. How do you do it?

I come from a family who is heavily involved in the mortgage and real estate industry. When I started to consider purchasing my first home, I realized I really enjoyed looking at the different architecture and décor in each home. After realizing I could spend my free time in a way that could help pay my student loans, I expressed my interest to my family, friends and colleagues, who have been incredibly supportive. My managing broker, Marty Matlock, has also been a fantastic wealth of knowledge.

How do you find time for pro bono work?

I make time because I look at pro bono work from an “everyone wins” perspective. I am able to have real-world experience running my own case, and individuals in need are able to get the representation they deserve but may not be able to finance on their own. I am also lucky to be in a position to provide pro bono work.

What got you interested in serving on the board of Indiana Children’s Wish Fund?

I have always been extremely active in philanthropy, and I enjoy giving back to the community. Indiana Children’s Wish Fund grants wishes to Hoosier children with life-threatening or terminal illnesses. When I learned more about ICWF’s mission, especially the focus on granting local children with these wishes, I knew I wanted to be a part of this organization. The feeling you get when you see the children’s faces when they are granted a wish is indescribable. I highly encourage anyone, especially young professionals, who have any interest in volunteering with this group to reach out to me or our director, J’Lynn Cooper.

Who is someone who mentored you, and what did you learn from them?

I have been extremely lucky to be mentored by a few strong female attorneys, but Taft partner Tracy Betz has been the biggest influence in my career. Tracy has shown me that if you work hard enough, you can have everything you want, and when you get it, be proud. Not only has Tracy paved the way for all women at Taft through her leadership chairing Taft’s Gender Advancement Committee, she has been my champion and mentor since I started. Professionally, Tracy has given me opportunities to grow through experience, all while providing constructive feedback. More importantly, Tracy has shown me that you do not have to choose between family and work. She makes time for both, on her own terms. I’m extremely grateful to learn from her every day.

What is something you learned as a litigator only through actual experience?

There are two main lessons I have learned during my practice. First, confidence is key. Everyone is nervous, but if you speak with confidence, others will listen and believe what you are saying. Second, having respect for opposing counsel can go a long way. Litigation is contentious enough, and we all appreciate courtesy and understanding. When you are able to work well with the other side, both parties are more inclined to work together to find common ground and reach an amicable solution.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The most practical advice I would give myself is to apply for more scholarships. There really is no way to understand the weight of your student loan debt until you graduate.

What do you most like to do when you have free time?

During the week I really enjoy attending Pure Barre Downtown Indy, especially taking my good friend Kira’s class, or taking cycle classes at CycleBar Carmel with my mom. I also enjoy traveling, and spend my down time dreaming of new vacations, especially with my friends Caroline, Kaitlin and Abby.

If you could change one law in Indiana, what would it be?

There are several laws that I believe should be changed, but if I had to choose one, I would expand or eliminate the statute of limitations and mandate harsher punishment for any abuse of children.

What do you think you might be doing if you weren’t a lawyer (and a Realtor)?

My friends and I joke that if I won the lottery, I would open a doggie daycare or a cookie dough shop (or both). I’d probably need to open a Pure Barre to work off the cookie dough, too.•

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