2013 Forty Under 40: Lawren K. Mills

 

Mills views her 4-½ years working in public service as giving back. When she finds causes that appeal to her now, she asks herself, “How can I help? That could mean writing a check or volunteering my time,” she said. “That answer can take a million different forms.”

Age: 34

Attorney/registered lobbyist, Ice Miller Strategies LLC

For the past few years, the Statehouse has been almost a second home for Lawren Mills.

Now as an attorney and lobbyist for Ice Miller Strategies LLC, and prior to that as senior policy director and legislative director in Gov. Mitch Daniels’ administration, she is at the Statehouse throughout the session meeting with clients, lawmakers and sitting in committees.

A state-mandated “cooling off” period of one year prevented her from lobbying the executive branch after she left state government in December 2011.

“I am currently almost cool,” she laughed. “I can and have been lobbying the legislative branch freely.”

Mills studied communications at DePauw University and earned her law degree at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law. While there, she realized she couldn’t see herself trying cases, but figured a law degree could be helpful in many fields.

Her work as Daniels’ chief lobbyist and liaison to the General Assembly, and an earlier position at the Family and Social Services Administration, gave her insight into how federal regulations impact family services and the Department of Child Services.

The biggest challenge she saw in state government was “to balance good ideas with the money to implement them,” she said.

As an only child growing up in Vincennes, she performed in school musicals and “always envisioned singing on Broadway.” A lack of musical theater at DePauw managed to diffuse that desire and turn her interests elsewhere. Now her urge to sing is satisfied during an occasional night at a karaoke bar with friends.

“I love pop culture, seeing the newest avant- garde movies,” she said. She also is a member of Forte, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s group for young professionals. “I’m kind of an artsy person.”

The unusual spelling of her first name comes from her grandfather and great-grandfather, both of whom were named Lawrence.•

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