Wayne Budd – inspirational all-rounder

5 minutes with... Wayne Budd

Wayne BuddWhen did you decide to become a lawyer? Why? 

It wasn’t until I was halfway through law school that I decided I’d like to practice law. Until that time, I didn’t know of any successful lawyers of color so didn’t know that it was possible to be successful as a minority lawyer.

Starting out, what did you expect from a career in the law?

Hopefully to simply make a living at the law.

How did you get into the areas of law you are known for today? By design? Chance? Both?

Perhaps more by chance than design. I always tried to take advantage of opportunities that appeared to be exciting and challenging.

What do you consider to have been your big break?

Two actually: one was being elected President of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the other becoming the United States Attorney.

What differences do you see in today's legal market compared to when you started?

Far more competitive on the one hand but far more opportunities for people of color on the other.

What achievement are you most proud of? 

Actually what I am most proud of is the fact that I have three daughters, all of whom are making positive contributions to society.

What do you consider your greatest failure or regret?

As a professional, I am very fortunate to be able to say that I really have no regrets, although I have had my share of disappointments, bumps and bruises along the way.

What law would you change, abolish or create? 

All of the remaining Massachusetts "Blue Laws" should be abolished.

Who is your legal hero? 

I have several, including the late judges David Nelson, David Mazzone and Harry Elam, and our US Attorney General Eric Holder.

What career would you have in your second life? 

Helping/mentoring others in a nonprofit environment.

What slogan would you like to be remembered by? 

He always worked hard, kept his word and tried to help others.

What advice would you give to students trying to enter the legal profession today? And secondly, to those who hope to ultimately get into the areas of law in which you are expert?

Stay loose, look for new and different opportunities, don’t be afraid to take risks.

Do you have any particular advice for minority students about to embark on their careers in the law?

See above; also develop a baseline of excellence in the profession and then find 'separators' that allow you to stand out in positive ways.

You have had a varied career, working as a federal prosecutor, in-house, and in private practice. Which part have you enjoyed the most?

I have to say that being the US Attorney is my all-time 'favorite' job. I am proudest of my affiliation with the small, minority-dominated law firm and what the principals of that firm went on to subsequently do in their respective careers.