TSL April 2020

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WOMEN IN SECURED FINANCE 2020

RECOGNIZING EXCELLENCE

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rin Hardtke is a senior associate in the Finance and Restructuring practice group at Paul Hastings and has spent 18 years practicing in various areas of commercial finance. She practiced in Chicago at two other AmLaw 100 Firms in the areas of securitization and asset-based lending and in-house at LaSalle Bank until its acquisition by Bank of America. After relocating to New York City in 2012, she landed various consulting engagements with top companies including a privately held global holding company operating in the telecommunications and information services industries, leading negotiations of their $250MM credit facility, and with the wealth management division of a global financial services company, advising on private banking and lending products.

ERIN HARDTKE Paul Hastings LLP

Erin brought her diverse career background and unique client perspective to Paul Hastings in 2017 and has since navigated some of their most complex financing transactions with aplomb, including the representation of lenders to fintech lenders secured by various types of fintech assets and of a global asset manager in a one-of-a-kind term loan facility which facilitated the monetization of future endorsement contract revenues of an all-star athlete. Her enthusiasm and leadership on incredibly intricate transactions have been instrumental in ensuring successful outcomes.

What do you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning of your career? Two major lessons come to mind. First, network, network, network. Every person you encounter in your career, whether a contemporary colleague, junior colleague, boss, client or adverse attorney, is someone who can add value. This value may be immediate in that you can find mentorship and/or camaraderie, both of which can make what can sometimes be a difficult job more enjoyable, or may come 10 years down the road when you are exploring career options or developing business. Second, and relatedly, treat every transaction like a job interview. Other attorneys, clients, and their clients will remember you and whether you performed at a high level and your reputation is what will ultimately either propel you or hold you back. This is a small industry and you will be surprised at the characters who pop up when you least expect it! How have you turned a failure in the workplace into a positive situation?

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THE SECURED LENDER APRIL 2020

I like to think of “failures” as challenges, and I have faced several. Due to two acquisitions and a change in the market leading to a lack of work, I have found myself as a jobseeker three times in the past ten years. I turned these into positive situations by viewing each as an opportunity to expand my practice in a new role, reconnect with old colleagues and clients and decide what kind of position would make me happy. I decided that I would enjoy a position where I can be part of a team, pursue opportunities for leadership and work on complex transactions from start to finish. I feel lucky that, after losing what I thought was my “forever” job, Paul Hastings gave me a chance to return to law firm life and has provided me with opportunities to do all of the things that I enjoy.

How have you approached big career decisions? This is one area where I believe women have an advantage over men in that women are better at accessing their intuition. Although I have built a career based on logical thinking, when it comes to big career decisions, I have instead trusted my gut. The one time I did not, I ended up in a job where I was miserable, but after learning that lesson, I later turned down a great opportunity at a top financial institution because something inside of me was telling me it was not right. While I sometimes wonder “what if”, I do not regret it and firmly believe I landed where I was meant to. Tell us something about yourself that may surprise people. I’m a dreamer. Sometimes to help balance the stress and demands of a career as a finance lawyer, I need to step away from reality and think about what else I might have done if I did not go to law school. I have dreamed about buying a flower shop in Vieques, starting a business in the funeral industry and, inspired by an embroidered silk jacket that I bought on the streets of Hong Kong, designing my own dog apparel line called “Fortune Tails” where every jacket would have a unique dog-related fortune sewn into it. I even took it as far as having samples and business cards made but I always knew in my gut that was not my calling. If you know anyone looking for a velvet smoking jacket for their chihuahua though, let me know!


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