Lawyers tend to overindulge in the finer things in life — things like designer clothes, fast cars, and luxurious lawyerly lairs. Unfortunately, lawyers also tend to overindulge in alcohol. In fact, according to the ABA, about 13 percent of lawyers qualify as alcoholics. Keeping that in mind, practicing law may be fine preparation for a new career in the wine bar business.

Meet Elizabeth Banker. This former in-house lawyer for Yahoo! and current counsel at ZwillGen is putting her legal career aside to follow something she’s been passionate about since her college days: wine. (Despite sharing a surname, apparently she’s not a fan of Banker’s Club vodka.)

Back in the day, Banker drank gallon-sized jugs of Chablis. Since then, her “tastes have evolved,” and now she’s more of a high-class sommelier. Let’s learn more about Banker’s new business, and find out when opening day will be….

Elizabeth Banker

Banker, a graduate of the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University, is joining a long tradition of attorneys cum alcohol connoisseurs — e.g., Bailey Spaulding (Vanderbilt) of Jackalope Brewing Company, and Moiz Ali and Steven Abt (Harvard) of Caskers — to open up Slate Wine Bar, in the Glover Park section of Washington, D.C.

Slate is scheduled to open in mid-August, but the project has cost Banker a pretty penny. What are the start-up costs for a venture like this? According to the Capital Business blog of the Washington Post, Baker and her fellow investors — Laura Covington, vice president of IP policy at Yahoo, and Jon Berroya, of the Business Software Alliance — have invested about $600,000 into the venture thus far.

It’s always nice to see lawyers lending a helping hand to others in the profession, but we don’t think this project completely depleted Banker’s savings. With clients at ZwillGen like Pandora, Electronic Arts, and Zynga, more than a decade spent as associate general counsel at Yahoo!, and a prior Biglaw background at Steptoe & Johnson, Banker likely banked beaucoup big bucks before becoming a businessperson.

Cheers to Elizabeth Banker on her latest endeavor. Be sure to stop by Slate in mid-August to sample specialty wines that will be sold by the glass. No pregaming on gallon-sized wine jugs necessary!

Lawyer putting aside career to open a wine bar [Capital Business / Washington Post]
Lawyer Gives up Legal Career to Open Wine Bar [ABA Journal]


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