Over the next several weeks, we’re spotlighting emerging leaders in Boston law to highlight the work they do, their legal careers thus far, and their connection to the larger Boston legal community. We caught up with Goodwin Partner, Courtney Orazio, to learn more about her growing white-collar criminal defense and government investigations practice, her advice to new lawyers in Boston, and more. Check out the full interview below:
Boston Bar Association: What inspired you to become a lawyer, and specifically, to focus your practice on government investigations and enforcement?
Courtney Orazio: I wanted to become a lawyer because I was drawn to the opportunity to help and advocate for people facing difficult situations. Today, I focus my practice largely on government (DOJ and SEC) and internal investigations, regulatory and enforcement proceedings, and complex commercial litigation, but I did not specifically know I wanted to do investigations and enforcement work until I began at Goodwin and started to work on these types of matters. I found investigations to be incredibly interesting, in that they offer the opportunity to do a real deep-dive into a given topic or issue, then put all the puzzle pieces together to figure out what happened, and how to best advocate for our clients in light of the facts and the law.
BBA: What advice would you give to new lawyers entering the profession?
Courtney: I have been very fortunate in my career to have had wonderful people to guide me along the way. My advice to new lawyers would be to seek out mentors—people you can learn from, people you can go to with questions, people who are invested in your development—and make an effort to build relationships with them (and don’t be afraid to ask for help).
BBA: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Courtney: My favorite part about this job is getting to help people – I enjoy working with clients to help solve challenging problems and work through complex issues, and I’m grateful that I get to collaborate with and learn from my colleagues on a daily basis in order to do that.
BBA: Why is it important to you to be involved in the broader legal community, like the BBA? How has this helped you in your career?
Courtney: I have been a member of the BBA since I started practicing, and I recently served on the Board of the Massachusetts chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Both organizations have been a great way to make connections, build relationships, and share ideas with others in the legal community. Participating in these organizations has also provided me with tangible ways to get involved in causes I care about. For example, several years ago I was part of the BBA’s Criminal Justice Reform Working Group, where I had the chance to collaborate with attorneys across our legal community to propose reforms designed to make the criminal justice system fairer, more cost-efficient, and more effective. I found this experience to be an extremely valuable advocacy opportunity, as well as a great way to build relationships with other lawyers in our community working toward the same goal of ensuring the criminal justice system treats everyone equally and fairly.
BBA: What’s your most memorable moment as a lawyer so far?
Courtney: One of my most memorable moments as a lawyer came very early in my career, when I was a second-year associate at Goodwin. I was part of a trial team that won an acquittal for our client, the former president of a pharmaceutical company, following a month-long federal criminal jury trial based on charges related to illegal marketing and anti-kickback violations. Everything about the experience was special – the trial itself was a huge team effort and the culmination of months of hard work, and it was inspiring to work with such smart and dedicated people to help get a great result for our client. I learned so much just being in the courtroom every day, and I still feel lucky to have been a part of that team and to have had that experience so early in my career.