Natasha Townes Robinson attributes her recognition among The National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 in Minnesota in part to her commitment to pro bono work.
Townes Robinson, a senior associate at Fredrikson, said she was “super honored and humbled” at her selection by the NBL, an invitation-only professional development and networking association.
She cited her work with a Fredrikson team on behalf of a Louisiana man sentenced to life in prison for selling $20 worth of marijuana. The Louisiana Supreme Court vacated his sentence “with a strong admonishment that it was excessive,” Townes Robinson said. Allen awaits resentencing in May.
Townes Robinson also cited her work, as an assistant attorney general, on the prosecution team that convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
At Fredrikson, Townes Robinson focuses on commercial, regulatory and white-collar criminal matters and advises clients on health care compliance, fraud laws, internal investigations and professional licensing.
Name: Natasha Townes Robinson
Title: Senior associate, Fredrikson
Education: B.A., political science, Ohio State University; J.D., Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?
A: Ask me about my kids. I have a 3½-year-old daughter named Alexandria and an almost 2-year-old daughter named Victoria. I’m that mom that’s like, oh, here are the pictures and here are the new words they’ve learned.
Q: Why law school?
A: I went to law school because my parents got divorced when I was 7. I remember an attorney asking me, where did I want to live, and I desperately wanted to live with my mother. I remember thinking, wow, this woman (attorney) is amazing. She’s cool. She’s polished. That’s what I want to be when I get older. I want to help kids like me. Then I had my first internship at a family law firm, and was, like, I will never do this. All they do is fight and argue about money. No one seems to care about the kids. I stayed with law but pivoted my specialization.
Q: What are you reading?
A: “Regretting You” by Colleen Hoover. I love Colleen Hoover, so I pretty much read anything she publishes.
Q: Best part of your work?
A: Of my billable work, I like solving problems. I like being presented an issue in a vacuum and then strategically fitting together puzzle pieces to the advantage of my clients. I love being an advocate, too. Working with the clients, the people really makes it great. But my favorite part of work is the pro bono, by far. Helping people in need.
Q: Most challenging?
A: Rude opposing counsel, people who just want to fight.
Q: Favorite activity away from work?
A: Family time, traveling with my husband and two girls.
Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?
A: Akron will always be home. It’s not much but it’s everything when you grow up there. We have King (Akron native LeBron) James; we’re very proud of him. I’d take you to Swensons. It’s an old-fashioned drive-in and it’s just great. There’s nothing better than riding down Copley Road in the summertime. It’s like a complete vibe there.
Q: Legal figure you most admire?
A: Macon Bolling Allen, the first African American admitted to the bar in the United States. He was a trailblazer during a time when people like me did not have freedom, let alone many opportunities. Johnnie Cochran. His style is just unmatched, so uniquely his own. He had such a command of the courtroom.
Q: Misconception that others have about your work?
A: First, that we just argue all day. Sometimes I feel like I learn the best when I’m listening rather than talking. Second, that lawyers lie all the time. It’s funny, because there are so many ethical obligations that lawyers have. There’s so much ethical oversight. You can be sanctioned. There are huge ramifications for lying.
Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?
A: “The Good Wife.” It has a powerful leading lady litigator, and I love that.