ITA Spotlight: John Schreiner, Partner at Perkins Coie LLP
Monday, January 6, 2020
Posted by: Abbey Kwiat
John Schreiner, Partner at Perkins Coie LLP
Chicagoan by birth or relocation?
My family moved from Milwaukee to the Chicago area when I was in the second grade. Thankfully my uncles had the good sense to send Packers hats and jerseys every birthday. I’m a cheesehead by birth but a Packers fan by choice (which is a lot easier this year than it was when I was a second grader).
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received?
I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors over the years and have had the benefit of plenty of advice. One particular piece of advice I think everyone can benefit from is to work to ensure your customers always look good to their own customers and bosses. Think about how your customers will use your goods or services and make sure you are enabling them to put their own best foot forward.
How did you come to work with Perkins Coie?
I joined Perkins Coie because of the people. The motto of the firm, “Counsel to Great Companies”, really captures our culture. My colleagues and I work with both established and emerging companies that are leading innovation that changes markets and the way people live. Being able to work with these clients and help them bring their products to market makes working at Perkins more than just a job.
What have been some of your favorite medias (books, podcasts, movie/ documentary, tv show) of the last six months and why?
I’m currently re-reading A River Runs Through It. It’s a very well told story, that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. Reading it in the winter gets you thinking about the upcoming spring.
What do you like most about what you do?
As a business lawyer, I enjoy learning about the business and operations of my clients. Understanding the technologies, products and business demands of my clients helps me to provide focused legal counsel to both protect my clients and help them grow.
What do you think are the top issues facing the Illinois tech community?
I think the availability and location of a quality workforce is one of the larger issues facing the community. Companies that need employees to be physically located in Illinois are seeing increased competition for talent as employees look at opportunities in other states and opportunities to work for companies remotely. And companies that have not yet fully embraced, but are moving towards, a full or partial work from home policy need to navigate a series of issues, ranging from efficient use of office space to maintain company culture, to ensuring collaboration amongst employees, all while continuing to meet the demands of their customers.
What did you want to be when you were in kindergarten?
A ranger in Yellowstone National Park.
What success are you most proud of?
My daughter. Being a good father and a role model to her is far and away the most important thing I can do.
What risks or issues do you foresee in your industry’s near future?
Technological advances, particularly in the field of A.I., are allowing law firms to rely more heavily on software to perform certain services that attorneys had traditionally done in the past. However, these new efficiencies are enabling law firms to help clients manage legal budgets and providing opportunities for attorneys to focus their practices on the complex and personalized legal counseling clients value most.
This one is all you! Tell us anything. Any topic at all.
I’ve volunteered with several organizations that are working to conserve wildlands and the wildlife that lives on them. Knowing that the small role I play might impact what the outdoors looks like for future generations has been incredibly rewarding. Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in a “bear denning” study through the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. We followed the signals of radio-collared female bears to the dens that they were hibernating in. The biologists then tranquilized the adult bears before collecting data and replacing the battery packs on the radio collars. We held the cubs that were in the den with the female, keeping them warm under our jackets while the mother bear was outside the den. The information gathered from this program is being used by wildlife professionals to manage black bear populations in the State.