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2013 Legal Elite profile: Young Lawyers (under 40)

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Gretchen M. Ostroff

Vandeventer Black LLP
Norfolk

Title:  Senior associate
Legal specialties: Construction law and litigation; professional liability defense of architects and engineers
Birthplace: Wiesbaden, Germany
Education: Virginia Tech, bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering; University of Richmond, law degree (cum laude)
Spouse: Ethan
Children: Cecelia (8 months)
Hobbies or pastimes: “Going to concerts; Pilates; taking our daughter, Cece, and dog, Fletch, on long walks.”
First job as a lawyer:  “I’ve been with my current firm since graduating from law school.”
Fan of: Live music
Favorite vacation spot: “Where we honeymooned:  Biras Creek, British Virgin Islands.”
Recently read book: “The Black Swan:  The Impact of the Highly Improbable” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb 
Career mentors:  Bill Franczek, Stephan Andrews, Patrick Genzler and Ethan Ostroff

Why did you decide to become a lawyer? 
“After college, I worked as a civil engineer on a complex bridge construction project.  When construction claims inevitably started rolling in, I assisted with the investigation and information gathering to respond to them, which eventually inspired me to apply to law school.  Now, in light of my former life as an engineer, I understand the challenges that arise on construction projects and can relate to what my clients experience.  I find helping design professionals avoid and handle claims particularly rewarding.”

What advice do you have for students who will graduate this spring from law school?
“Although salary is important — particularly in this economy — don’t overlook the intangibles that accompany any job, such as the opportunity to do meaningful work and the culture of the firm or office.  You will likely spend the majority of your next 30 years at work — make sure you like the people you will be working with, because you will see them more than you see your family.”

Click here for the Legal Elite list of Young Lawyers (under 40).


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