Julie S. Lu
Attorney at Duane Morris from 1999-2004
Currently a General Attorney for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
Q: HHS covers a wide spectrum of activities. What is your practice area?
A: I am in the General Law Division of the Office of the General Counsel and work in the Claims and Employment Law Branch. I am a litigator for the Department, and I handle mainly employment discrimination and labor-related cases. I also provide advice to the various operating divisions and staff divisions within HHS, such as the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, etc. My clients are managers within any of the Department's 11 agencies and the various staff divisions in the Office of the Secretary. I have provided advice to the Department on a range of issues, including but not limited to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, the Federal Travel Regulation, the Intergovernmental Personnel Act and the Dual Compensation Act.
Q: You were an associate in the Trial Practice Group at Duane Morris in Philadelphia for four years. How did you find the job in D.C. and what motivated you to take it?
A: I heard about it through a law school friend of mine in the same division here. I am originally from Virginia and knew I wanted to return to the area to be closer to family. I was also looking for a change from private practice.
Q: And perhaps a change in practice area? You were a general commercial litigator at Duane Morris.
A: I did some employment discrimination-related work at Duane. I did research and wrote part of a brief for a big client. In law school I took courses in labor and employment discrimination law, which has always interested me. I saw this job as an opportunity for me to get exposure in that area of law.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
A: We have our own cases and we are responsible for them. We don't have associates or paralegals to help us out. You definitely have to prioritize. In the General Law Division, we get a lot of questions that don't fall neatly within the other divisions - sometimes we get some strange questions! I like the advice part of the job.
Q: How did your training/experience at Duane Morris help to prepare you for your current role?
A: I learned how to be a litigator while I was at Duane. I use those skills daily. While at Duane, I worked with some very good attorneys who treated associates well. It was a very good experience. I made a lot of friends at Duane and keep in touch with them.
Q: How do you spend your time when you're not working?
A: I have two adorable nephews that I like to spend time with. I'm part of a book club, (I was also in a book club at Duane Morris with associates in the Trial Practice Group.) I like to go to art museums, watch football, go to movies, go to Redskins football games, go hiking and go to festivals in the area. For the last two years I have been belly-dancing, taking two classes a week and performing in a student troupe.
I stay involved in professional organizations. I'm an Advisor on the Board of Advisors of the Villanova Law Alumni Association, and served for two years on the Board of Directors for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund (AEF), which is a charitable organization established by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Region (APABA-DC). I am also an active member of APABA-DC.