Amy Batten Partner and Co-Leader, Corporate Group, Smith Anderson
Amy Batten has learned many life-changing lessons in her long career as a lawyer, but the experiences that provided some of the most valuable skills came from her first job at a boutique in a New Jersey mall.
“I learned a lot about people and customer service in that job, which certainly has come in handy throughout my life and career,” she says.
Batten grew up in Ridgewood, N.J. and always has a ready answer for the inevitable question that follows when she tells people where she’s from.
“When people find out I’m from New Jersey, they love to ask, ‘which exit?’ but the truth is that my town wasn’t anywhere near the New Jersey Turnpike and didn’t have an exit,” she explains.
Batten received a Bachelor of Science degree, graduating cum laude, from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Duke University School of Law brought her to North Carolina, and after graduating with honors from Duke, she joined Smith Anderson in Raleigh. She is now in her 27th year with the firm.
Practice area: I’m a business lawyer and work primarily with public and private companies on capital raising, corporate governance, securities, and corporate matters. This was a natural extension of my business and finance background in undergrad.
Personal accomplishment: My most meaningful accomplishment has been my ability to successfully (so far) balance a demanding career with my family life.
Biggest career challenge: I would say it is the same thing as my biggest personal accomplishment — striving to achieve and maintain balance. It’s not perfect and there weren’t many role models to look up to along the way, but I worked hard, tried to recognize when I couldn’t do it all, and learned to give myself some grace.
Advice to aspiring attorneys: Think hard about why you want to be a lawyer before you go to law school. It’s a big investment of time and resources, so be sure it’s what you want to do. Maybe try something else for a while first or gain some experience in a law-related job before diving in. Not only will it make you feel like you made the right decision, it will also provide you with helpful real-world experience and work habits that will benefit you both in how you approach law school and in your career.
Work/life balance: Find ways to manage stress and give yourself grace. For me, I need daily exercise and a far-flung vacation to look forward to on the calendar. It’s different for everyone.
Childhood goal: I wanted to be a novelist.
Favorite vacation spot: For many years, our family went sailing in the British Virgin Islands on spring break. It’s been a few years since we’ve done that, but we have great memories of our son on those trips as he grew up.
You didn’t know: I am the only child of an only child and I have an only child, and I used to drive a convertible with a stick shift — by choice.