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A Q&A Conversation With Christina Barringer

June 5, 2024

Since joining Clark Hill in 2016 Pittsburgh Member Christina Barringer has made tremendous impacts for her clients as a banking and finance lawyer while also mentoring many young lawyers in a variety of industry and community groups.

For her efforts, Barringer was named a 2024 “Lawyer on the Fast Track” and received a nomination for “Young Lawyer of the Year” by the Legal Intelligencer in Pennsylvania.

Barringer recently discussed her career growth and what it means to be recognized by the Legal Intelligencer.

To get started, how did your career evolve into practicing banking and finance law?

Although I didn’t begin my career in the banking realm, I appreciate my early experiences in this career because those experiences have allowed me to develop business across different practice areas and have helped me mentor other young lawyers since I have a broad idea of things they’re struggling with early on in their own careers.

I began my legal career in Pittsburgh volunteering for Judge John Zottola in Allegheny County Criminal Court writing opinions and assisting with the development of mental health and veterans court programs. These programs were specifically aimed at rehabilitating local veterans and those suffering from mental health issues – with the goal of successfully reintegrating and helping them become contributing members of society and reducing criminal recidivism in the community.  While working for Judge Zottola, I began writing Orphan’s Court opinions and doing court-appointed criminal defense work. That litigation experience provided me with an opportunity to move to Ohio to begin working for a small boutique general litigation firm.

While working in Ohio, I was assigned litigation matters primarily for a small regional bank, and from there I began focusing solely on bank work, which ultimately enabled me to move back to Pittsburgh to specialize in commercial lending transactions where I represent national and regional lenders in negotiating and drafting their loan facilities across various industries.

How would you summarize your practice?

More recently I’ve been focused on public finance matters, which is a sub-specialty of our banking law group but overall my practice primarily involves commercial and corporate lending by representing banks in a broad range of secured and unsecured debt financings. My practice is transactional and contractual in nature.

What trends are you seeing in the banking industry lately as it relates to your work and your clients?

Interest rates are a hot topic in my industry right now.  More and more banks have been reaching out with questions surrounding the uncertainty with interest rates on top of the unpredictability of an election year that can complicate the market, make lending a challenge and tends to negatively impact deal flow.

To switch gears, what does the Lawyers on the Fast Track award mean to you as it relates to your career accomplishments so far?

Certainly, it was very humbling and I’m very appreciative of it. It’s such an honor to be recognized based on actual merits, things done in the community, or mentorship efforts that don’t necessarily get the spotlight.  I’ve always enjoyed helping other lawyers and my community as much as I can. It’s a great honor to be recognized for that.

Outside of your day-to-day work, how else are you involved in the legal community?

I’m involved with the mock interview process for local law students. That’s a way to keep my finger on the pulse from a recruitment standpoint and try to understand the challenges in the market for young lawyers.

Within Clark Hill, I’m a co-chair of BOLD and have orchestrated many inner-firm events. The purpose of BOLD is to promote the professional growth, retention, and promotion of women throughout the firm, the legal profession, and the global business community. I’ve spent a lot of time working with female associates on client matters to give them more direct client management experience.

For pro bono work, I’ve spent time with the Allegheny County Wills for Heroes program to provide estate planning documents for police, fire, emergency medical personnel, and military veterans.

Why is mentorship so important to you?

I wouldn’t be here today without mentorship. I’ve had some of the best mentors in this industry and I’m grateful to Clark Hill for facilitating a culture that supports collegiality and the uplifting of other lawyers. I benefited from interacting with outstanding women who are great mentors, so I’m always trying to find ways to pay it forward. I’m proud to be a part of the growing number of female attorneys in the banking and finance space and I’m always striving to set a good example for other lawyers, especially female lawyers, in helping them accomplish their career goals.

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