Rachel Hardwick, COO of ResInnova, serves as president of the WBA Foundation and has been on the Foundation board since 2015. For almost 25 years she was in-house corporate counsel at large non-profits, focusing on health coverage. Rachel notes, “I’ve recently left that work and now work with my husband running our growing commercial testing laboratory which I very much enjoy!”

When did you join the WBA?
1996 or so.

What committees/forums have you been involved in?
In addition to the Foundation, Health Law Committee, Annual Dinner Committee, and Endorsements Committee.

Why did you join the Women’s Bar Association?
I was in law school and needed to look for a job and was seeking to learn about women in law.

What benefits do you get from being a part of the WBA and why do you think others should join?
I have learned so much about the profession, the advancement of women in the legal industry, and the need to ensure that women of color are especially promoted and included.

How has being a parent enhanced your career?
When my kids were little, I had to be very focused in all aspects of my life – work, home, volunteer work, etc., and that focus and organization meant that I got a lot done. I have mentored many women over the years, including non-lawyers, and my experiences of time management are helpful in those conversations.

Do you have a mentor/hero?
I think she knows this, but Bridget Bailey-Lipscomb is my friend, mentor, and hero. Bridget is, as you know, the WBA president and served as WBA Foundation president while I was vice president. Bridget is the epitome of a person who gives her time, treasure, and talents for good causes. She often asks me “what can I do for the Foundation” when she has plenty on her plate as president of the WBA!

What words of advice do you have for women new to the profession?
Do not think that you must have all the answers all the time. You’ll have a shiny new degree, but that alone is a very general qualification to be a lawyer. It’s your research and critical thinking skills, and the conversations you’ll have with your colleagues, that will help you give your clients the best solutions possible.

What is the best advice you have received?
Something like 90% of being a lawyer is understanding your clients’ needs, being trustworthy and easy to talk to. Clients will bring you their concerns and issues before they turn into problems, and even when issues turn into problems, the goodwill you earned with the people you serve will help with all-around cooperation and problem solving.

What other organizations are you involved in?
I served on the board of Maryland NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and was board chair for a for-profit, community owned grocery store. I volunteer to get out the vote and protect elections, volunteer with my church, and my kids’ schools.