Attorney Spotlight: Gardner Bell

December 9, 2016

Gardner Bell - summer associate hiringTell us about your practice.

I aim to be a transactional lawyer who helps clients execute their goals. Corporate and securities will be my foundation, and I have already gained terrific M&A experience in the healthcare and health insurance industries.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in the legal field?

I wanted to be useful. Legal analysis is a hard skill that allows you to understand the big picture, drill down to material issues, problem solve and communicate. This can be helpful in many respects, and working at a place like Bass, Berry & Sims provides an unparalleled platform to learn, grow and contribute.

Prior to your pursuit of a legal career, you promoted financial and economic development initiatives locally and also in Indonesia, India and Ethiopia. Tell us about those experiences and how they will shape your role as an attorney.

I was fortunate to have worked in microfinance abroad and public-private economic development at home. One lesson seems especially applicable to my role as an attorney: the value of seeing over the horizon. In Ethiopia, I remember feeling tremendous, unchecked optimism when observing families break out of poverty simply by having access to a small loan. In India, though, I witnessed the same enthusiasm turn to despair when the microfinance industry collapsed almost overnight. Sponsored by a bank in Indonesia, a colleague and I set out to study the forces that led to this collapse. We learned how business and policy leaders, blinded by success and good intentions, had failed to anticipate a myriad of legal, social, political and economic risks.

I believe it is an attorney’s job to not only support a client’s vision with enthusiasm, but to also anticipate risk, harness optimism and navigate obstacles. It is simply not enough to have a grand idea—even if that idea is the “silver bullet” of global poverty and wins Muhammad Yunus a Nobel Prize. One must also foresee contextual fault lines and create proactive solutions. I believe this will be an important perspective in my practice.