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1909-2019 | Celebrating Our 110th Anniversary: A Conversation with Beatrice Williams

You were one of the first members of Loeb’s administrative staff in New York when the firm opened that office. What was that period like?

I was on maternity leave, just after having my son Nicholas, when I received a phone call from David Carlin (who would later become a managing partner at Loeb), asking if I would be interested in joining him and Bill Marlow in their move to a new firm—Hess, Segal, Gutterman, Pelz, Steiner & Barovick, which would go on to merge with Loeb—to help launch their Advertising department. Of course, I accepted.

On Feb. 3, 1986, I arrived at Hess Segal’s office at 230 Park Avenue in the Helmsley Spear Building. The offices were not fancy by any means. My desk was in a hallway/file room that I shared with two other assistants. One of our main tasks during the day was taking dictation, a process that involved taking down verbatim a letter, memorandum, or any sort of pleading or legal document, then transcribing our dictation on an electric memory typewriter. Our paper consisted of a white, original copy and three color carbons for filing purposes. Back then, we didn’t have computers, there was no email, and cellphones were the size of a mini suitcase!

In your three decades with the firm, how has the culture evolved?

The culture has evolved drastically. The original Advertising department, now Advanced Media and Technology, which started with just me, David and Bill, currently has more than 65 members, making it one of the largest departments in the firm. The firm has also embraced diversity. I’m especially proud of our first woman managing partner of the New York office, Laurie Ruckel, who is just an outstanding, brilliant, strong woman, and someone I consider a very dear friend and colleague.  

Has there been anyone at the firm who has served as a mentor or inspiration to you over the years?

David Carlin and Bill Marlow played very important roles in my career. They taught me the importance of dedication and hard work. But on Sept. 2, 1987, my life at Loeb changed forever. That’s when James D. Taylor arrived at the firm. He is a man of tremendous knowledge and wisdom, a man with a tremendous heart, a man who is accepting of everyone, and someone who is always ready to listen. I am forever grateful to Jim for showing me what diversity and inclusion are all about. He teaches by example not to judge people by the way they choose to live or look, to be true to yourself and live your life for you—and no one else—and to always think outside the box. For all of these reasons, I will always respect and honor him.  

What makes you proud to work at Loeb?

I’m very proud of the firm’s growth over the years, not just in size, but in culture. I am also very proud that we have a very large group of tenured employees who have been committed to Loeb for over 20 years. We were committed to Loeb’s core values then, and we still are today.  

I would also like to mention that in 2018, we lost Bill Marlow, and most recently Charlie Miller, a litigation partner, and Jim Conners, a trusts and estates paralegal, all of whom were great friends and colleagues of many of us here at Loeb. I am thankful that I knew and worked with these incredible people.