2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty Honoree: Brian Balduzzi
Brian Balduzzi, Associate at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLC, will be honored during the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty on Aug. 26.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
The third annual AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event serves to highlight and showcase some of the most diverse and impactful young professionals across the Philadelphia region.
At this year's event, taking place Friday, Aug. 26, Brian Balduzzi will be one of the 40 honorees.
Brian Balduzzi is a private client attorney at Faegre Drinker, where he provides comprehensive legal advice to help entrepreneurs, executives and families fulfill their goals, advising them evolving tax, retirement and estate planning laws.
He is also an active pro bono attorney, representing clients in housing and family cases, including domestic violence situations; advocating for transgender rights in name change petitions; and helping clients with probate proceedings. Notably, he helped represent the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in its recent litigation regarding its collection of artifacts. He is also authoring a petition to modify a charitable trust to provide for the continued financial viability and maintenance of a public park.
Balduzzi has served and currently serves on many Boards of Directors, including Young Involved Philadelphia, Independence Business Alliance, Philadelphia LGBTQ+ Bar Association, Spruce Foundation, and the Young Professional Advisory Council of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
As part of the lead-up to the AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event, AL DÍA asked each of the honorees a set of identical questions and collected their responses.
Here are Brian Balduzzi's responses:
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your professional career?
I seek to solve my clients’ problems, whether my client is internal within my firm or external. My biggest challenge has been determining how to use my available resources to the highest and best capacity. I deeply resonate with my business school alma mater’s motto: “Do the Greatest Good.” During the pandemic, I struggled to determine what my “greatest good” was. Ultimately, this inquiry and reflection led me back to practicing law at a law firm after my “sabbatical” at business school and working in a wealth management firm and bank. I continue to reflect on how I can better serve my clients, my firm and my community, and I think this challenge will persist throughout my career as I strive to do better.
What are steps that can be taken to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in your industry? Why is it important to do so?
The practice of law has had numerous gatekeepers to prevent diversity, let alone equity and inclusion, starting with law schools and the legal curriculum. Many law schools are improving their outreach, support and engagement with diverse communities because the legal profession needs diverse attorneys and advocates. We can improve inclusion within the legal profession by advancing conversations around mentorship, professional development and advancement. Often, diverse attorneys value different parts of their personal and professional lives than people who have historically served as attorneys.
Diverse attorneys may suffer from imposter syndrome because they continue to see only a certain demographic reflected in leadership roles within the legal profession. They may also question how to reconcile their personal lives and values with the legal profession and its rules and structures that may have perpetuated harm against their communities or otherwise not included them for so long. Further, these diverse attorneys may, through virtue of their recent membership within the legal profession, be the first in their families or immediate communities to be involved in the legal profession with its privileges and powers. This may create internal (and even external) conflict for diverse attorneys. We can help mitigate this through conversations around these issues, resources to help with self-care and self-management, increased visibility of diverse attorneys (their struggles, their successes and their paths) and greater attention on how we can best serve our clients and communities through the collective diversity of our legal profession.
This commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion cannot be overstated within the legal profession. As legal advocates within a community, we must serve as an example for other professions and ensure that diverse communities see themselves represented by the legal profession in our representation and advocacy. We can promote a more just and equitable vision of the law through the collective experiences and voices of diverse attorneys for the betterment of our laws and justice. Within my practice area, we consider how all individuals, regardless of net worth, should have a plan for their estate to help build intergenerational wealth and legacy, as well as minimize disruption and harm after the loss of a family member. We can also consider how the current and forthcoming transfer of wealth from the baby boomer generation to the millennial generation will bring a host of changes in how we think about wealth, legacy and estate planning. This change demands that we have a diverse community of legal representation to ensure that we can adequately listen to, problem-solve and plan for the next generation.
What does being a leader mean to you?
My view of leadership has focused on serving my community and focusing on adding value to the projects, communities and people with whom I interact. This is a form of servant leadership, but it extends beyond the traditional definition. As we look at certain transfers of leadership from one generation to the next, we have to think about how information, processes and legacies are transferred and use critical thinking to reflect on how we can best lead the next generation to solve current and future problems. Part of my role as a leader is in education, including sharing what I know about the law, business, finance, community-building and strategic management. Another part of my role as a leader is to encourage growth and reflection and to see our systems and processes as in need of constant assessment and adjustment. If I can help others see not only what is but what could be on my teams and in my communities, then I will have considered part of my role as a leader to be successful. Through this inspiration, I hope to bring forth change and new solutions to evolving issues facing our communities.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I often struggle with this question because I find that my passion for solving problems has taken me in many directions thus far in my career and personal life. I see more clarity for me in helping to solve people’s problems as it relates to their estate, tax and financial planning, as these areas are often not taught and have become increasingly complex with evolving laws and circumstances requiring a trusted adviser to guide families. Further, I see the integration of my legal, financial and even psychological training and knowledge as being essential for helping my clients and communities uncover how to think through issues and solutions and better plan and communicate these plans to the various stakeholders. I see my role as being increasingly shaped by helping families discuss and collaborate on planning for efficient and effective wealth transfers and incorporating thoughtful succession plans. In my community, I see myself continuing to advocate for impactful change through nonprofit, board and community leadership. I look forward to facing new challenges through critical thinking, collaboration, and grit because, together, we can make our communities more equitable, just and inclusive for all.
The 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event will take place Friday, Aug. 26 at The Vie at Cescaphe. To learn more or purchase your ticket, click here.