Western Pennsylvania Chapter
ACC Western Pennsylvania is launching Member Spotlights, a new initiative to feature a member in a creative question-and answer format. Our Chapter has more than 500 members, and Member Spotlights are designed to help you get to know your fellow Chapter members better and enhance networking opportunities. If you are interested in being the subject of a spotlight or know someone who would make a good subject, please contact Barbara Dudek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are so pleased to shine our inaugural spotlight on Lourdes Sanchez-Ridge!
Lourdes Sanchez-Ridge, Chief Legal Counsel, City of Pittsburgh
1. Tell us about yourself (anything from school, family, hobbies, etc.).
I was born in Cuba and grew up in Miami. I have been happily married for 30 years and have 3 adult children.
2. Tell us about your career and current job.
I started my career as a prosecutor in Miami, FL under the Honorable Janet Reno during the 1980s. There, I prosecuted crimes ranging from misdemeanors to homicides. After I gained sufficient experience prosecuting crimes in Miami, I became an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, DC. and prosecuted local and federal crimes including conducting grand jury investigations. Thereafter, I stayed home to raise my family for a few years and returned to work at a law firm for 10 years defending white collar criminal defendants and targets of investigations. I also conducted numerous internal investigations for corporations and organizations. In 2014 I was appointed by the newly elected Mayor of Pittsburgh as the Chief Legal Counsel/City Solicitor for the City of Pittsburgh which position I currently hold. In this capacity I oversee a Law Department of over 25 employees and manage a budget of $5.5 million. I am responsible for all legal matters for the City including civil right and tort actions, municipal, employment law and Right-to-Know Law.
3. What do you enjoy most about your career?
I enjoy the law's constant evolution and the art of applying the law to a set of facts to resolve a dispute or create a document that will withstand the scrutiny of the courts. I also enjoy giving legal and practical advice to my clients.
4. Is there anything that has surprised you about being an attorney?
I never thought I would enjoy practicing law as much as I do. I cannot think of a more engaging and rewarding career as the path that I have taken.
5. Of what accomplishment are you most proud?
I am most proud of being able to raise a family and, after a few years, being able to return to a successful and meaningful career.
6. What do you most look forward to doing in your career?
I created the Ethics Hearing Board for the City of Pittsburgh. I am looking forward to seeing it operate successfully by ensuring that ethics remain central to city government.
7. Complete this sentence in seven words or less “To me, the ACC is…”
To me, the ACC is an extremely valuable resource for in-house counsel. The educational resources are very topical, timely and provided by well-respected attorneys. It is also a place to meet fellow in-house counsels where ideas are exchanged. It is very welcoming.
8. What is your favorite book, band, or movie?
My favorite book is The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.
I'm an open book so there is not much that people will be surprised to know about me.
Many people have influenced my career in different aspects. I consider my husband, Robert Ridge, to be one of the best trial lawyers with a good sense of judgement. Janet Reno was also very influential in the development of my professional ethics.