Balancing Act

Laura Caldera Taylor seems to find extra hours in the day

Published in 2009 Oregon Rising Stars Magazine

Laura Caldera Taylor began her law career confident that a work/life balance was achievable.

Sometimes she wonders if that was overly optimistic. But most would say Taylor, 41, has more than achieved her goal. She is a successful intellectual property litigator at Portland’s Bullivant Houser Bailey and a committed community volunteer. She also manages to “spend Saturdays at the pool; Sundays at the horse-riding arena” with daughters Angelina and Torina. And the 8- and 10-year-old girls have no hesitation about calling Mom at the office.

“I’m trying to split my time between being a very tough litigator and a very devoted mom,” says Taylor, whose husband, J. Dean Taylor, is a senior assistant attorney general with the Oregon Department of Justice.

After flirting with the idea of family law, Taylor realized it was too emotionally draining for her. In law school she took an intellectual property course by the animated Vincent Chiappetta at Willamette University. “I knew when I took his course that this was where I was going to take my career.”

She began at a boutique firm, which merged into a mid-size firm. She moved to Bullivant in 2007 after meeting with Renée Rothauge, head of Bullivant’s IP practice.

Recently, she and Rothauge garnered a motion to dismiss for Hydra Fuel Cell, which was accused of infringing a patent. Taylor found the case fascinating. “What I really liked about it was that it was cutting-edge technology, green technology.”

The more complicated, the better, in Taylor’s book. “When you get a headache trying to think through the fact pattern,” she says, “those are the cases that I love.”

Taylor is a member of the International Trademark Association and the immediate past president of the Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS). She just concluded her tenure on the Multnomah Bar Association’s CourtCare Fundraising Committee for CourtCare, a free drop-in child-care center at the Multnomah County Courthouse. “It is just an amazing program,” she says. “It allows kiddos the opportunity to avoid being in court when their moms and dads have adult issues; things that you really wouldn’t want kids to hear about.”

Now Taylor is turning her energies toward the Children’s Cancer Association as a member of the ambassador board. All this is on top of mentoring young attorneys, cooking lasagne for 12 for the OWLS Foundation’s annual auction and shuttling her kids around town.

And yet she still doesn’t think she’s found work/life balance?

“I think balance is a misnomer,” she says. “I think it’s more of a juggling act.”

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