Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 38

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Marcia Madsen

Looks Back on Early Trailblazing Days
By Kathleen Troy

M

arcia Madsen has achieved a rare feat in Washington, D.C., legal
practice. She's a top practitioner and thought leader at Mayer
Brown LLP, winning a long string of accolades and awards for
her accomplishments and service in the law, including being
named to the National Law Journal's Washington's Most Influential
Women Lawyers and the Washington Business Journal's Women Who
Mean Business. She's also led several professional organizations and,
at key decision points, has testified before Congress on procurement
law and policy.

Not surprisingly, her distinguished reputation
in the government contracting community
means she's frequently entrusted by companies with high-stakes cases and litigation.
Madsen's story is remarkable because she not
only survived but also prospered over her fourdecade career in the vortex of law practice
while parenting a growing family.

A national debate competitor in high school,
Madsen gravitated toward history and political
science. This not only gave her " a very solid
foundation " for her legal career but also earned
her a four-year honors scholarship at the
University of Utah. She was one of the first
women to garner selective legislative internships through the university's Hinckley Institute,
initially with the speaker of the Utah House,
then with a member of the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. The Senate internship became a
job and influenced Madsen's decision to go to
law school. She earned her JD and then an LLM
(in tax) at night while working full time.
Madsen didn't set out to be a procurement
lawyer. She'd been with a Justice Department
agency while in law school, and after grad-

38 WASHINGTON LAWYER

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MARCH/APRIL 2021

Her introduction to procurement law came
later when firm clients needed tax advice
involving government-financed projects.
Madsen found herself " in a crash course in
government contracts, " a field rife with pitfalls
for the unschooled. She hasn't looked back
since. " I'm not sure I would have been as comfortable in private practice if I hadn't explored
those other opportunities first, " she says.
What Madsen found in government contracts
practice was a dynamic legal, regulatory, and
policy environment; a varied palette of legal
issues; and exposure to a diverse swath of the
U.S. economy. Madsen believes " government
procurement practice is misperceived, mainly
by outsiders, as a single-specialty practice. " In
reality, " there are many complex issues in government procurement because it cuts across
almost every industry, " Madsen says. " Laws
and regulations affect different industries differently, and there are political and policy dimensions, too. "
She's energized by working within the spectrum of industries and legal specialties
in the government contracts space, including
aerospace and defense, health care,

George Allan

" I'm the first generation in my family to earn a
college degree, " says Madsen, largely crediting
her early academic success to her mother's
tenacity in nurturing her education. Madsen
admiringly adds that her mother completed
her own degree, with honors, at age 70.

uating, she received an offer to be a corporate
lobbyist. " I had some hard thinking to do
about the direction of my career, " she recalls.
She ultimately pivoted to tax practice with
a Washington law firm.

engineering, information technology, cybersecurity, and intellectual property. And she frequently represents clients in litigation.
It's also an ideal return to Madsen's legislative
and policy roots. " Legal and policy alternatives
deserve to be fully aired and discussed because
of the competing interests involved, " she says.

MORE VISIBILITY & FLEXIBILITY
A lot has changed during Madsen's many
years of practice. She recalls that when she
began practicing in the 1980s, women law
firm partners and in-house general counsel
were " pretty scarce. "
" I benefited from the example of a few very
strong women who tackled working in what
was viewed as a field dominated by men, " she
continued on page 40



Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Digital Extras
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Staying Put in Big Law feature
A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Worth Reading
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
ABA Delegates Corner
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effecy
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 5
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Staying Put in Big Law feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 20
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 24
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 28
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 32
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 34
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 40
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 41
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - ABA Delegates Corner
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Pro Bono Effecy
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 49
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 51
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover4
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