Brian Song – CUP Fellow Spotlight

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
I am an associate at BakerHostetler LLP where I am a general commercial litigator.  Although my practice focuses on securities litigation and white collar crime, I have represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide-range of legal disputes ranging from anti-trust laws, breach of contract, telecommunications law, and government contracts.

I have always wanted to be a lawyer.  I received an ROTC scholarship to attend college and deferred my military commitment until after law school.  I began my legal career in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps where I was selected for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief Counsel’s Military Honors Program.  While I never originally planned to stay in the Army after completing my active duty service, I have continued to serve in the Army Reserves where I now defend the Army in federal court.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?
My biggest challenge is learning the business side of being in a law firm. When I was a junior attorney, I could simply concentrate on completing the legal tasks that were assigned to me.  Now, as I grow more senior, I am much more focused on client development and have been working to improve my networking skills.  Business development is not a course that is taught in law school.  Balancing the needs of my practice, my military career, my family, and the civic organizations that I support is also a tremendous challenge.

What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was graduating from the U.S. Army Airborne School to earn my paratrooper “jump” wings.  I had a tremendous fear of heights when I was growing up where I would become nervous standing on a ladder just a few feet off the ground.  I overcame that fear by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
The leader that I admire the most is Abraham Lincoln.  After reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, I was truly amazed how Lincoln captured the admiration and loyalty of other leaders who once had nothing but disdain for him.  Lincoln is a shining example to everyone who does not have what our society thinks is the natural appearance or background of a leader.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I will still be practicing law and watching my twin girls enter their high school years.  I should be close to retiring from the military.  I hope I will be in leadership positions within my firm and within my bar associations.

Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?
I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have terrific mentors through every stage of my career and I currently mentor younger attorneys at my firm.  I am not sure that my experiences have changed me as much as they have reinforced my desire to serve in the mentor role to someone else.

What do you hope to gain from your CUP Fellows Program experience to help you make a significant and positive impact in your community?
I hope to gain a strong network of talented future leaders who will continue to challenge me to grow and support my leadership development.  It has been exciting to work with diverse individuals from different industries and be exposed to the world outside of a law firm.