When Elizabeth Mack was 8 years old, she began taking Japanese flower arranging classes. She instantly fell in love with orchids and was drawn to the flower’s voluminous blooms. “What I really love about orchids is that they have these beautiful, showy flowers that last a really long time,” she says.
The chair of Locke Lord’s national environmental practice graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988. After clerking for Sidney Fitzwater and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, she began her career at Locke Lord in 1989.
About 15 years ago, she rediscovered her love of orchids and began growing them herself. At any one time, her home usually contains about 30 of the plants, each strategically placed to maximize eastern morning sunlight exposure. She has even turned an upstairs TV room into what she affectionately calls the “orchid hospital”—an intensive care unit where she takes care of plants that are not in full bloom or need a little rest and recovery.
So, what is the secret to breathing life into sometimes temperamental flowers? “Bright consistent light and tender loving care,” Mack says. “A lot of people think they can put three ice cubes on their orchid every week; that’s not going to cut it.” And, yes, Mack does have conversations with her plants often: “I talk to them all the time,” she says with a chuckle. “My kids laugh at me—completely.”
At work, she holds a leadership role at Locke Lord and has been recognized for her achievements. Earlier this year, she was honored as “Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Law” by the peer-reviewed trade publication, The Best Lawyers in America.
Mack has litigated environmental cleanup efforts both locally—in Deep Ellum, the Medical District, Trinity Groves, and Farmers Market in downtown Dallas, to name a few—and in 40 states around the country. Whereas a property might have been a giant industrial factory at the turn of the century, Mack uses her knowledge of federal issues such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act to mitigate corrective action and enforcement to make the spaces inhabitable for new businesses and residences to enjoy for generations to come.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is getting contaminated properties cleaned up so that they can be put back into beneficial use,” she says. “Cultivating orchids is so inspiring to me, but it’s equally inspiring to watch our communities grow with revitalization.”