Smooth Dealings

February 4, 2013
Frayed Rope

A few years ago, as her daughter prepared to get a driver's license, Libby Brewington did what any risk-minded attorney would do: she drew up a contract.

"The car is ours, not yours," the document stated. And it wasn’t without rhetorical flourish: “Driving is a privilege. The state may give you the license, but we must give you the permission.” Her daughter signed the contract with little negotiation, Libby recalled. “But my fifteen year-old son will likely be a different story,” she said. “I expect some pushback.”

She’ll be ready for it. Her instinct for planning and compromise — for thinking through all of the contingencies and finding rules everyone can follow — has been honed over twenty years of practice with Brooks Pierce. With experience in a range of corporate and financial matters, Libby has negotiated and drafted hundreds of loan agreements, stock warrants, security agreements, and other complex transactions.

She got her start not in law, but in the most straightforward form of retail banking. “My husband and I actually met while learning how to make car loans,” she recalled. They both worked for a regional bank in South Carolina, where Libby started just after college and quickly rose to branch manager. “I got very good at dealing with irritated customers.”

Today, as she drafts agreements that can move millions of dollars in capital, Libby works hard to ensure smooth dealings for her clients. “It’s part of the balancing that you’re always doing in law, making sure that everyone understands the contract and feels good about it,” she said. “You’re helping people form a business relationship that’s going to be good for all sides.”

The decision to apply her financial acumen to the legal world wasn’t hard. After following in her father’s footsteps to Davidson College, which she found “plenty big” after having five high-school classmates in the small town of Tabor City, Libby took inspiration from her grandfather. “My grandfather was a judge, so I grew up seeing the law as a deeply honorable profession,” she said. “Law school had been in the back of my mind for a long time.”

And Libby’s own daughter, perhaps inspired by the driving contract experience, is already thinking about a legal career, as well. “She’s been on the mock trial team all through high school,” Libby said. “So I guess I haven’t scared her off of it yet.” 

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