Bloomberg Law
July 27, 2023, 9:00 AM

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Natalie Bennett of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
Executive Editor
MP McQueen

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.

I successfully tried a trade secret case on behalf of Zimmer Biomet at the International Trade Commission that had such a long-running history that the litigation has its own YouTube parody video. The witness examinations I conducted surrounding the disputed bone cement products were impactful in advancing our positions that certain trade secrets were not adequately protected.

We eventually prevailed in defeating the petitioner’s request for injunctive relief at the ITC and the parties went on to find a business resolution that allowed both sides to focus on selling their respective products rather than litigating in forums throughout a multitude of forums.

In a Covid-era arbitration that is now resolved, I delivered the closing argument to three retired federal judges. I was energized by the experience—and the emotion—that accompanied my role as the spokesperson delivering the “final word” for an important client in a hotly contested proceeding.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?

I learned as a first-year attorney that all practicing lawyers serves a client, whether internal or external, and therefore client service matters. As a first-year attorney, my internal client was a more senior associate or partner.

Those more senior attorneys had their own internal or external clients. And even the most senior external clients such as a general counsel of a major corporation, are always serving the needs of the business stakeholders.

I internalized early on that no matter what the task at hand was, it was my job as a lawyer to offer advice or provide work product that would tangibly assist whomever I was advising. Written communications that allow clients to seamlessly disseminate the advice or work product I generate to their respective clients has been a critical skill to develop.

As I have grown in my responsibilities the fundamentals of providing internal and external clients with the tools they need to satisfy their respective clients has proved invaluable. Corporate clients appreciate outside counsel who know their audience and are actively solving problems. I approach litigation matters as a trusted problem solver, someone who—for every task—will deliver a client experience with custom insight, reliability, and efficiency.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?

My greatest mentor is Judge V. Jimmie Reyna, the first Latino to serve on the Federal Circuit. He has taught me that the journey in this profession matters as much as the destination.

Judge Reyna’s career path was shaped by the risks that he took. He moved from New Mexico to D.C. to pursue a better educational environment for his special needs son.

He fell into the area of international trade because it was the only job available. He has faced insurmountable odds at multiple turns in his career, but he has been most successful when he took the path less traveled.

Judge Reyna taught me that when facing strategic decisions, the conventional path is rarely the most rewarding. I have found this to be as true for important litigation decisions as it is for the politics of winning over peers.

If you stay true to your core values when the stakes are high, the reward is greater than decisions made without conviction but that minimize risk. There is no straightforward path to success; the adventure of betting on myself is the ultimate destination. There will be difficult days, but Judge Reyna’s guidance always affirms that remarkable outcomes are possible.

How do you define success in your practice?

Success in my practice is the adrenaline rush of the court or the jury agreeing with your position. These victories can be as small as the court asking a question during oral argument that signals agreement with your position or as big as deciding a motion in your client’s favor. But to be a litigator is to want to compete and to deliver your client the best possible outcome.

A “success” that stays with you is the adrenaline rush of hearing a verdict read that indicates that a jury of your peers has considered the evidence and agrees with your client’s position. This outcome feels like a validation of the immense work that goes into preparing a case for trial.

Cases are decided by the evidence but the presentation matters. Behaving respectfully matters. Asking the right questions matters. Success is packaging the evidence with the presentation to deliver a victory.

The ultimate courtroom success, however, is to deliver a litigation victory alongside a team, including a client, that you admire and enjoy working with. There is no adrenaline rush like being able to celebrate a great outcome with a well-bonded team.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?

I am most proud of having reached a point in my career where I know I will be able to lift up the female and diverse attorneys who come behind me. There was a point when I was a “rising” partner practicing at a former law firm where the idea of having autonomy within a large law firm seemed unobtainable.

I went to lunch with Judge Reyna and shared the specific challenges I was facing. I was particularly worried I would never have the client relationships that would secure true professional autonomy.

Judge Reyna assured me that I was capable of putting other women under my wing and taking them along with me to the top of the law firm echelon. At the time, over seven years ago, it was hard to imagine being responsible for a team and shaping someone else’s success.

Today, I am privileged to do that at Morgan Lewis and through various bar initiatives such as the ABA’s Judicial Opportunity Program. I am proud that I have the autonomy to create opportunities for young lawyers. Being in a position to build a team with diversity of backgrounds, thoughts, and experiences, has been the ultimate privilege.

Tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist?

“Dilemma” by Kelly Rowland and Nelly. This was the final song in Nelly’s set when I saw him perform at Stagecoach this past spring. And Compassby Lady A.

Good friends, great colleagues, and lots of family support pushed me through a bumpy summer of depositions and travel so that I could fire on all cylinders.

Natalie Bennett of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and friend at a Bruce Springsteen concert.
Natalie Bennett and Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Law

Natalie Bennett is lead counsel in multiple patent and trade secret litigations for Microsoft in the Western District of Washington and OnePlus in the Eastern District of Texas. She is a co-leader of the Morgan Lewis Women in Tech task force and the firm liaison to ChIPs network, a nonprofit dedicated to women in tech, law, and policy. Her pro bono practice includes representing an Afghan women’s rights activist seeking asylum and permanent residence in the US.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: MP McQueen at; Lisa Helem at

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