fEATURING bAR lEADERSHIP iNSTITUTE aLUM:
Aaron Lay, BLI Class of 2015
Litigation Partner, Hamilton Stephens Steele + Martin, PLLC
Hometown: Elk Valley, TN
Education: University of Tennessee (BA, 2003), (JD, 2007)
Your most vivid memory of your BLI experience: The opening weekend retreat with my classmates. It was integral in setting us off on the right footing for the rest of the class because we got to know one another on a personal level that let us be more open about our own thoughts, experiences, and idea. You quickly realized that most of your peers are dealing with the same personal and professional struggles and it creates a strong bond with them. This is my most vivid memory and what I valued most about my BLI experience.
Advice you'd give to the next BLI class: Be prepared to open yourself up to different ideas, philosophies, and an understanding of both the shared and unique experiences and backgrounds of your classmates and be prepared to share your thoughts, ideas, experiences, and knowledge. It’s a judgment free zone that isn’t always available in our demanding profession. Come in with an open mind and an open heart and you will greatly benefit from the share knowledge and experiences of the program leaders, speakers, members, and your fellow classmates.
Past and current volunteer service with the MCB/MBF: I was a 4 year member of the BLI Committee because I believe in the BLI and wanted to see the program improve and make a larger impact within the Bar. I am currently the Vice Chair of the Business Law Section and will be Chair in the new program year.
Greatest leadership accomplishment and why: : Leading my firm’s technology committee as a young partner and transitioning the firm to be more cloud-based, paperless, and remote work friendly so that I could travel the world while I work. This paid dividends for the firm when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we were all working remote! Additionally, I teach CLEs and consult on work-life balance for my fellow attorneys. I love seeing other folks use my learned techniques and tips to find more balance in their professional and personal lives.
What you do when you're not lawyering: I travel the world (and still lawyer while doing so). Just got back from a trip to Iceland – my 50th country that I’ve visited – and spent my 40th birthday in the Maldives in April. I asked the resort general manager if they needed a resident lawyer – the answer was a surprisingly strong, “No, sir!” We lawyers are just an unappreciated lot.
If you would like to nominate a BLI alum to be featured on MCB's virtual platforms, please contact Associate Executive Director Shannon Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org.