Name: Lauren Naworski-Smith
Occupation/Business: Business attorney at the Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP
Tell us how you got into your field. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to either become an attorney or a sports broadcaster. In pursuit of this, I attended University of California – Santa Barbara where I earned a degree in political science, a degree in communication, and a minor in professional writing. After several legal internships and sports/media related internships, I decided upon pursuing a career as an attorney. I then attended Pepperdine Law School where I graduated Cum Laude, was a member of the Law Review Journal, and with a certificate from Pepperdine’s highly-ranked Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. After much studying, I passed the California Bar Exam and moved back to my hometown of Bakersfield. Young Wooldridge graciously extended me an offer of employment, and I have worked at the firm ever since.
What is your "why?" (Why do you get out of bed every morning and do what you do?) I love the law and more than anything, I love helping my clients. I have the opportunity to assist clients with several matters such as forming corporations, buying and selling property, collecting money owed to them, rectifying breaches of contracts, and defending them in lawsuits — just to name a few. I find the assistance I am able to provide and the relationships I am able to build extremely rewarding. My parents are small business owners (insurance) and growing up, I witnessed the struggles businesses in California often face with burdensome regulations, as well as a highly litigious environment. I love that I am able to defend my clients in situations like these.
Another part of my “why” is my family. My parents, my grandparents, and my two little sisters have always pushed me, supported me, and believed in me. My husband, Tyler, also provides unconditional love and support. Tyler played professional baseball for many years and I loved traveling around watching him play the game he loved so much. Tyler is now a mortgage broker at Cornerstone Mortgage. We work very hard to provide the best life for our four fur babies (and one day for our future human babies).
Finally, my mentors, my co-workers, and my assistant are my “why.” I wouldn’t be the person or attorney I am today without their constant guidance and support. I am very lucky to be a part of such an amazing team.
My love of the law, my clients, my family, my firm, and my fur babies are my “why.”
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Keep God in the center of your life, treat others with kindness and respect, work hard, stay humble, be thankful, and always trust your inner voice.
What is your proudest achievement of your career thus far?
My legal career is still young, but my proudest achievement of my career thus far is passing the California bar on my first attempt. Going into the bar, California had the lowest passage percentage of any other state in the country — I believe it was around 40 percent to 45 percent. After graduating from law school, I gave myself two days to celebrate and then I dedicated all my time and energy to studying. I generally studied eight to 12 hours every day for two months — the thought of having to study like that again and take that difficult exam again pushed me through any moments of weakness. Finding out I passed the bar was one of the most exciting days of my life.
Workwise, every day I am still humbled that the partners at Young Wooldridge have shown so much trust in my work and my ability as a lawyer and that my clients have entrusted me to resolve their legal issues.
What’s next for you in your career?
I plan to continue to work hard everyday and give 100 percent to my firm and my clients. I am hopeful that through my amazing partner mentors at the firm, and through my continued hard work and dedication, I will expand my knowledge in the practice of law and gain further experience.
What advice would you give to other young professionals and entrepreneurs in Bakersfield?
My first piece of advice I’d give to other young professionals is to get involved and try as many things as possible before deciding on a specific career. Before starting my career at Young Wooldridge, I had the opportunity to intern for several amazing individuals and companies. For example, I interned for Fox Sports, a federal judge (United State District Judge Hon. Frank R. Zapata), Congressman Kevin McCarthy in Washington, D.C., the Arizona Diamondbacks, and several private law firms focusing on various types of legal practices. These internships helped me focus my career and allowed me to end up exactly where I was supposed to be!
Stemming from my first piece of advice, I would also advise other young professionals to get involved locally. Having been born and raised in Bakersfield, and then leaving for eight years for my undergrad, internships, and law school, I have really learned to appreciate the small-town feel of Bakersfield. I took that for granted until I lived in cities without it. My advice would be to get involved in our community. There are so many wonderful and worthwhile organizations here that truly support our community. Also, I’d say to get to know your neighbors and neighborhood. While living in larger cities has a lot of advantages and is definitely very fun, I realized how much I missed running into friends and neighbors at the grocery store or at local restaurants. That’s something we still have here, but is definitely missing in many other cities.
How do you hope to help improve Bakersfield, or bring to the community overall?
I hope that through my legal practice, I am able to help the local community. I have also given a home to four stray dogs we found running through the streets of Bakersfield at various times (my parents also have four strays pups and we have helped find homes for countless others). I hope to spread awareness regarding the overabundance of stray animals in Bakersfield and share the message of “Adopt Don’t Shop” with as many people as possible.
As an associate attorney, I am still learning to balance my time between work, home and volunteering. I am currently on the board of directors at Links for Life. I love being involved with such a wonderful organization. As I continue to develop my career, I’d love to get involved with other local organizations. Being such a huge animal lover, I definitely see an animal-focused organization in my future.
Social media contacts:
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/laurennaworski
- Young Wooldridge’s website: https://www.youngwooldridge.com/
- My profile on firm’s website: https://www.youngwooldridge.com/lauren-naworski-smith- attorney/
What is one thing you wish you would have known before starting your career?
There are a few things I wish I would have known before starting my career: (1) dry cleaning suits/business attire is rather expensive; (2) being a night owl and going to bed at midnight is not conducive for eight to 10-hour workdays; and (3) I will end up exactly where I am meant to be — working for, working with, and being mentored by exactly who I should be!