"Not all firms are so flexible about trying to make sure new lawyers find the practice area that’s the right fit."
Maile Hermida, Partner, Washington, D.C.
My practice focuses on food law and regulation. (Most firms have a general FDA practice — but our group is organized by subject matter). I work with food manufacturers, retailers, and their trade associations on everything related to food, from developing legislation, regulations, and policy to responding to government inquiries and investigations.
Getting to know Hogan Lovells
When I was a summer associate I tried a wide variety of projects trying to find a practice area that felt like a good fit. I worked on a few projects for the Food Group, which were fun and interesting. This exposed me to their practice, which wasn’t something I even knew existed beforehand — and is ultimately where I practice today.
Probably the most unique thing about my experience is trying out a niche practice as a summer, taking advantage of the rotation process as a new associate to give it a try, and ending up settling in the group after my first rotation. If we didn’t have rotations, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable starting work in a practice area that I had no background in.
Shortly after I joined the firm, I was given significant responsibility for two petitions to amend uniform state regulatory procedures. For the last few years, I’ve traveled around the country attending meetings to advocate for support of our clients’ proposals and discussing the issues with state regulators. I often attended these meetings on my own, without a partner’s direct supervision. I don’t think I would have had this opportunity if I were in a bigger group at a different firm where I did not have an opportunity to work directly with the partners so that they could quickly gain confidence in my abilities.
Word to the wise
Take advantage of the summer and rotations when you start, so that you can find the right practice for your interests. Not all firms are so flexible about trying to make sure new lawyers find the practice area that’s the right fit.
I joined the food regulatory practice in 2008 after that area piqued my interest during my time as a summer associate in 2006. I represent clients regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and other health and safety regulatory agencies at both the federal and state levels.
I am a graduate of The George Washington University School of Law, where I served as executive editor of The George Washington Law Review. I also served as a judicial clerk to The Honorable Charles F. Lettow of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Outside of the office, I enjoy running, hiking, reading, visiting the Smoky Mountains, and traveling with my family.