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“By law firm standards,” said Jill Westmoreland, “it’s practically part-time.” Her job, that is, as a lawyer-writer at Loeb & Loeb. She does not draw nearly as much salary as her fellow associates. But, as she might say: So what, my evenings are mine. And here is a career outlook sure to raise hard-charging eyebrows. “I made a conscious decision that I didn’t need to make a whole lot of money,” said Westmoreland. As definite as she sounds, Westmoreland did not originally set her sights on the ruckus of the Manhattan legal world and its fabled extremes: rookies pulling down bonuses — never mind salaries — that Daddy only dreamed about, long-knife competition, days that often stretch into purple dawn and an obsession with hierarchy and status. None of that for Jill Westmoreland. “My job would have to be interesting,” she said of her eventual entry into the ruckus, “and it should always be a pleasure to come to work.” Just how does Westmoreland’s job measure up against her own kinder, gentler criteria for earning one’s daily bread? “I call it the perfect day job,” said the woman who is 36, single, and insistent on a social life. On the clock, she says, “They pay me enough, I like my work, and I have this nice office.” Indeed, her windowed aerie at Loeb & Loeb headquarters overlooks the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the Art Deco landmark on Park Avenue. The vista appeals to her aesthetic tendencies. Along with political science, Westmoreland majored in art history at Wellesley College. Later, at George Washington University School of Law, she was an assistant conservator at the Corcoran Gallery. As she took in the view of the Waldorf, which was still dolled up for Christmas, Westmoreland further expressed her shocking work ethic. “Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of four-day weeks,” she said. “I think I can manage on that schedule.” How does a young associate get a job that allows a person to be a person? She had not intended on continuing school beyond Wellesley. But after working in Los Angeles for a film company for a few years, she decided one day that a law degree could be useful. “Then, during law school, I wrote for the newspaper,” she continued. “I was also an intern at National Public Radio and The CBS Evening News. “Afterwards, I spent two and a half years at the William Morris Agency here in New York.” After admission to the New York and Massachusetts bars, she said, “I left [William Morris] and signed up with a [legal] temp agency, and my first assignment was at Brown Raysman, in the litigation department.” In a matter of months, Westmoreland was offered a permanent place at Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner as a contract attorney in the firm’s publications group. “There was a lot of writing and editing work,” she said of her Brown Raysman position, “almost all of it in the technology and Internet law area.” Within a few years, along came an offer she couldn’t refuse: the first in-house writer-editor at Loeb & Loeb, with the added attraction of extended trips to the firm’s office in Los Angeles, where her parents live. She makes it all sound so easy. “Oh, you’ve sensed that she’s modest?” asked James Taylor. A partner at Loeb & Loeb, the wry Taylor has no regrets in having hired Westmoreland. “She’s bright, she’s got great writing and analytical skills,” he enthused. “She has a gift for approaching our attorneys, focusing on issues of law that would make good articles, providing them help, and walking them through the process,” Taylor said of Westmoreland. “She has strong persuasive skills and a graceful manner. She’s also a great negotiator. Those same skills you would apply in working with clients, she utilizes in working with associates and partners in the firm.” The modest Westmoreland simply lists the tasks she is paid to perform: production of white papers, client alerts, and legislative summaries; memoranda on legal updates and Internet law developments; management of articles and link pages for the firm’s Web site; and the placement of articles — in coordination with Loeb & Loeb’s marketing department — in a variety of publications. “I travel a lot,” she said, switching the conversation back to personal time benefits. In addition to L.A., Westmoreland spent time with family members last year in Boston, and vacationed in Italy and Greece. Westmoreland’s job is not for every young attorney — certainly not for someone straight out of law school with outstanding tuition loans. “I worked five years before law school, and five years after,” Westmoreland said. “I paid off all my loans two years ago, and I keep my costs low.” She sees a huge advantage in being a lawyer free of constant concerns about billable hours for the firm, or the bottom line of her own paycheck. (For the record, the lawyer-writer salary at Loeb & Loeb is a confidential matter.) “I have a very different relationship with the partners,” Westmoreland said. “I’m not trying to win a promotion. It’s more of a peer relationship.” FULL-TIME WRITING Neither is her job foreign to the legal world, although only a handful of firms assign lawyers to full-time writing. “Writing is part of being a lawyer,” said Theodore Voss, director of client services at Kelley Drye & Warren. Writing tasks at Kelley Drye are performed “either by me, or by our partners or associates.” Voss is not opposed to establishing an in-house writer spot at Kelley Drye. “I would not see us going that way in the short term,” he said. “But we would be willing to consider anything that would make sense over time.” Many firms hire freelancers. “We have a freelance attorney who writes for us,” said Douglas Wood, executive partner at Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood. “[It] should not, however, completely substitute for writing assignments. “It boils down to a balance of time between billable and non-billable [hours],” said Wood. Nancy Lassersohn, marketing and communications director at White & Case, said: “The substantive writing on legal issues is done by the practicing lawyers. Most of our partners would feel that someone with specific experience in the subject area would be necessary. “There is a real need for what I would call product development writing, as well as client communications,” Lassersohn said. “If you don’t have a dedicated person, it can be a real bottleneck to get this material developed.” The bottleneck Lassersohn speaks of led Taylor to “think outside the box,” as he put it, and bring Jill Westmoreland to the firm’s rescue. “Because [Westmoreland] is able to dedicate time to writing articles that speak to our firm’s expertise,” said Taylor, “she frees up attorneys to do what they do best: bill clients.” Some lawyers may bristle at shared professional dealings with those deemed outside their own circle of worthies, and Taylor is sensitive to the phenomenon. But Westmoreland has enough standing in the firm, according to her boss, to weather any slights from colleagues who might question her status as an attorney — period. “We’ve empowered this position,” Taylor said, “and we’ve empowered Jill.” Westmoreland has her own thoughts on power. She might write a book, for instance. “I don’t have anything to say right now,” she said. “But I’m gathering ammunition.”

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