Misty Leon didn’t know that employee benefits law existed, but the practice perfectly suited her interests and skills. This specialty law practice allowed Misty to work for 19 years in private practice before moving in-house and working with Texas Instruments.
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As a first-generation lawyer, Misty didn’t have much experience with lawyers and what they did daily, but she knew she wanted to study law.
Misty chose law as a career because she thought it would put her in an excellent financial position. Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Misty explained had the option of moving to Dallas or staying in Shreveport. Misty chose to attend college in Mississippi and then law school in Virginia to gain access to a larger city but remain n a smaller school.
During her 1L summer, Misty worked with a plaintiff litigation attorney specializing in disability benefits and ERISA. This internship was Misty's introduction to benefits law, but Misty wanted to avoid the litigation area. Misty was quickly recognized as a unicorn in this practice area because she enjoyed researching statutes, federal policy, and compliance.
Misty is collaborating with partners, and benefit plans, remaining vigilant about new laws and policies and how they impact benefits.
It is a big part of my job to monitor the new laws and say, 'This new requirement came out; how are we handling this right now, shared Misty Leon. Misty works as an internal consultant in a manner.
"I put in a lot of extra effort to make sure I connect with the other lawyers, and they know what I am available to assist with," explained Misty Leon on the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
When I started taking tax classes and any other class focusing on statutory, regulatory law, or securities law, that was my jam, shares Misty Leon. While employee benefits law is a wonderful career for Misty, she emphasizes that law students and new lawyers change to this practice because these skills are in high demand. You're trying to attract and retain good talent with employee benefits.
"Now I get to see more of what goes on in those cases, even when doing regular compliance work," explains Misty Leon in Episode 86 of You Are A Lawyer.
Misty worked in private practice for 19 years before she began working in-house with Texas Instruments. Unlike most in-house legal jobs, Misty Leon works with various departments within Texas Instruments to ensure the company follows all federal and state benefit guidelines.
Misty considered her coworkers' internal clients because she consults with different departments and directors who need guidance about benefit or legal issues.
As a team one, Misty is literally the only employee benefits lawyer at Texas Instruments, but Misty works as a consultant with various departments. Typical workdays consist of interacting with "internal clients" people in human resources and the legal departments because of her experience with HIPAA and experience from almost two decades in private practice.
"I'm very business minded and enjoy things like allocating the right amount of time to a project versus extracting as many hours of it," shared Misty Leon on the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
Misty stands out as a You Are A Lawyer guest because she trusts her intuition and consistently challenges herself. Misty moved and fought for an internship during her 1L summer. Misty looked at other courses that would support her interests and took tax law and regulatory law classes to further investigate her interests, Misty Leon created an incredible career when she got to advocate for taking a chance on moving and taking an internship during her 1L summer,
"It's a very practical specialty, and I always know what to do I need to get a benefit and how to ask for it," shares Misty Leon in Episode 86.
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Misty Leon is licensed to practice law in Texas, Virginia, and D.C. Learn more about Misty Leon:
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Kyla Denanyoh hosts the You Are A Lawyer podcast.
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