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Best Under 40: Carolina Schottland

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 8:27 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 8:32 a.m. CDT

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Age: 35 Occupation: Attorney, Botto Gilbert Schottland Lancaster PC Residence: Round Lake Hometown: Several! Family: Husband, Bruce; two reluctantly adopted stray cats of indeterminate age Education: Juris doctor, University of Illinois College of Law; bachelor's degree, economics, University of Illinois Favorite McHenry County restaurant? Green Pea Pod in McHenry Favorite movie? I am not a huge movie fan, but I am a sucker for a cheesy romance novel One word that describes you? Capable 

What is your job and what makes you so good at it?

I am an attorney and contrary to many people’s opinion that attorneys are argumentative and combative, the strongest tools I have are compromise, reason, and empathy. That doesn’t mean not staying firm in my position to benefit my clients, or not fighting for what my clients deserve. It just means that being an attorney is a sales job and no one is going to buy what I am selling if I am rude, uninterested, or instantly combative. In my line of work, I don’t have to resort to name-calling and bad-mouthing. If the opposing side and I don’t agree, there is a tie-breaker (the judge or arbitrator) to resolve the issue.

What accomplishments and innovations are you most proud of this year?

As my year was bumping along and I was dealing with the everyday aspects of my job, I had a major motor vehicle accident. I had pretty serious injuries and it kept me home for several months. This led to a lot of unusual accomplishments for this year. I learned to sew (sort of). I caught up on 10 seasons worth of shows I never knew existed. I learned to let both my mom and my husband cook in my kitchen (really hard). I found out what a lot of my clients go through when they suffer major injuries. I rediscovered how wonderful my friends and family are and what a special person I have in my husband. 

The year is not over yet and I may still accomplish or innovate in a way that will “wow” my business and law colleagues.

How do you give back to the community and what drives your service?

I have served on boards and committees in numerous organizations in McHenry County, but what I take particular pride in is in one-on-one contact with young people. I have an open door policy for anyone who wants to shadow an attorney, I participate yearly in Woodstock School District 200 career events, and am available as a resource for University of Illinois students and graduates from both the law school and undergraduate programs. I volunteer regularly for scholarship committees and for question-and-answer sessions for current students. I want to help every young person have access to education and to reach their potential.  

What is something you have never done but want to do some day?

Take a cooking class in the south of France, during a three-month tour of Europe, of course!

What is the best career advice you have received?

To never be afraid to speak up. Being a younger female in an area dominated by older men is a challenge for all the immediately obvious reasons. However, it is also an opportunity to provide a different perspective and perhaps offer a solution no one else has thought of. I was the first female partner at my law firm and I truly believe that it was partly due to the fact that when someone asked for my opinion, it never occurred for me that I wasn’t supposed to give it, even if it was in direct opposition to someone else’s opinion.

Nominator’s comment:

“Carolina has been an interested and active professional for many years within McHenry County. Not only has she been active within her own professional career, Carolina has also volunteered for community based programs and is currently a member of the McHenry County Community Foundation Board of Directors,” said fellow board member Rick Schildgen.

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