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Lynn Trevino-Legler doesn’t come from a family of lawyers, but she has something that can’t always be taught: purpose.
“Any success I can claim is the result of hard work, determination, and having a few critical mentors along the way who believed in me,” she says.
Today, as vice president of legal and head of litigation at Yellow, Trevino-Legler is helping lead the iconic freight and trucking company through one of the most difficult times in its long history. On August 6, 2023, Yellow Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a long public battle with the Teamsters union.
It’s a challenging road for the company, but these are the types of situations Trevino-Legler has spent her entire career preparing for. Actually, the preparation started long before her first day at Yellow and even before she entered Polsinelli as an entry-level litigation associate in 2008.
She was born and raised in Texas. She eventually landed in Kansas City, Kansas, and grew to love life in the heart of America. After earning a degree in journalism, public relations, and Spanish from Kansas State University, she set her sights on law school.
“I wanted to go to a small school in a capital city where I would both get to know people on campus and be around the state legislature,” she recalls. Trevino-Legler enrolled at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, which she refers to as the “gem of the Midwest.”
That’s where dedicated professors and educators encouraged Trevino-Legler to take her disciplined approach even further. “A smaller law school helped me thrive because I was able to be more engaged and had more personal attention from professors who became my mentors,” she says.
One professor offered a particularly memorable piece of advice. “Gravitate to the people and jobs that see something special in you and recognize what you have to bring to the table,” Trevino-Legler recalls. “You take the little pieces of wisdom that people share and that you learn from your experiences and put them in your pocket. As you continue your journey, you draw on those experiences and they help shape your perspective and guide your career.”
A decade as a litigator at Polsinelli gave Trevino-Legler plenty of time to collect nuggets of wisdom from her various mentors and experiences. She intentionally took on cases and issues that would give her broad exposure and prepare her for an eventual transition to an in-house position. Trevino-Legler joined a financial services firm as its senior employment attorney in 2018.
In 2022, she joined Yellow. The company was in the midst of a public transformation. Despite the tough landscape, Trevino-Legler remained determined to apply her skills and experience to help a top company. “Advising a large corporation from a critical in-house legal position was my dream. Yellow was undergoing an incredible transformation. I wanted to be part of it and build the best team I could to fight for Yellow,” she says.
Trevino-Legler got a big assignment. With fourteen thousand tractors on the road and forty thousand trailers moving freight twenty-four hours a day, Yellow faced a high volume of claims and litigation regarding drivers, trucks, and accidents. She focused on legal operations and created new positions to identify and increase efficiencies in litigation and claims management processes.
In addition, she leveraged technology to implement automations and other solutions designed to generate faster outcomes and better results for employees, leaders, clients, and shareholders. Trevino-Legler built a team that was equipped with information, technology, and a clear litigation strategy to help mitigate associated risk.
While Trevino-Legler got a big assignment, she also got a lot of support from Yellow’s general counsel and its CEO. “Leaders here saw me and respected me as a female and as a Latina. They respected that I brought something unique to the table through my experience, energy, and passion. They gave me the opportunity to build a department that was critical [to] the success of the business,” she explains.
When she first went in-house, Trevino-Legler helped advise a financial investment firm through an acquisition. That experience informs how she leads during this difficult phase. “Yellow doesn’t need me less right now. They need me more,” Trevino-Legler says.
Even with everything she’s facing, Trevino-Legler reserves time to mentor the junior lawyers she encounters. She talks about vision, purpose, and long-term career goals. Most young attorneys, she says, need to be reminded to leverage their resources and learn from those that have come before them.
She also reminds them to take time to fill their cup so they have the energy and stamina to invest in all the priorities in their lives. Trevino-Legler hits the gym at 5:15 a.m. every day. She also makes sure to get plenty of quality time with her family. Doing so refuels her energy so she can keep her high performing legal teams moving forward.
For more than thirty years Carr Allison has represented the motor carrier industry in lawsuits throughout the US. We have seen the best. No one has demonstrated more talent and dedication to their responsibilities than Lynn Trevino-Legler. Congratulations on this special honor. No one deserves it more. Your future is bright.