Robyn Goldstein’s career thus far has been one of successive and successful transitions. Prior to law school, Goldstein built out experiences in the public interest sector, writing curricula for the Peer Assistance Network of America and coordinating programming for the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.
She attended law school assuming her career would land her in education law. While in school, she accrued experience at the Center for Juvenile Justice at the University of Houston Law Center. “I loved what I was doing but also realized how expensive practicing law was, and to do it well, it would be expensive,” Goldstein explains. “I wanted to be the best lawyer I could, so that’s when I decided that if I could get some big firm experience, I would.”
Goldstein would spend the next four and a half years at the Houston office of BakerHostetler, a large national firm, building out general litigation and employment law expertise. It’s where she would ultimately recognize the role she would serve above all others. It wasn’t litigator, employment lawyer, or the litany of new hats she would wear upon coming in-house at the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor, Transocean. It wasn’t even as an entrepreneur in partnership with her husband. “I always tell people and I will always tell people, I’m a mom first,” Goldstein says.
Goldstein admits that “I’m a mom first” can be a hard message to commit to in the legal life she has chosen. It was in the hard and fast world of billable hours, after the lawyer had had her first child, that she realized what her particular set of priorities would look like for the foreseeable future.
“I worked with so many amazing lawyers who I still keep in contact with to this day, but there were also lawyers at the firm who felt like I had to be in the office at all hours of the day,” Goldstein says. “And while I loved what I was doing, I wondered if that mind-set was going to keep me from getting ahead.”
The opportunity to come in-house at Transocean wasn’t one Goldstein was actively seeking, but it has allowed the now senior counsel to spread her wings in a multitude of new directions. Most importantly, it’s allowed the lawyer to stay true to herself. “I am a good lawyer who works very hard, but I have two children, and I try my best not to miss out on anything for them,” Goldstein says.
“When I speak to young lawyers, I tell them that you have to be true to yourself and be happy with where you are in your journey,” she continues. “It’s not easy to balance being a good parent and being a good lawyer, but it’s so important to be who you are because at the end of the day, it’s so important to be present in that moment, be it at work or at home.”
And given the current climate, the challenge to balance it all has never been bigger, with her children’s elementary school closed indefinitely due to social distancing. “Trying to be creative to both teach and entertain my kids each day takes a lot of effort, and then I sit down once they are settled in a routine and remember I have a meeting in ten minutes. And when it begins, I now must give a disclaimer: ‘I’m sorry if you hear shouting or children in the background—we all share one office,’” Goldstein says.
Maybe the most encouraging part of Goldstein’s professional journey is that while being an active presence in the lives of her two children, she has also torn through a series of roles. Some were familiar and others virtually brand-new when she came to Transocean.
Goldstein was initially onboarded as a general litigator overseeing the company’s litigation unrelated to the 2010 Macondo Well Incident, which was occupying considerable company resources. Her purview since has included employment law, handling the litigation related to Transocean’s lucrative patents, helping draft Transocean’s initial sustainability report, and handling aspects of corporate reporting, drilling contracts, and compliance at various times.
“That’s the great part about working here. You have the opportunity to be part of areas of the law you never imagined you’d be part of,” Goldstein says. “I’ve really been able to become a well-rounded energy lawyer.”
Most recently, Goldstein has been part of the in-house and outside counsel team, preparing for trial later this year. “Sometimes, as an in-house lawyer, you manage from afar, and sometimes, you’re really invested at a close level,” Goldstein says. “The offshore industry is unique in and of itself, so we’ve worked very closely with our outside counsel to make sure that we’re speaking authentically. It’s been a really enjoyable process working with such a talented team.”
Twelve years into her legal career, Goldstein has found a way to amass experience and become a generalist in the truest sense. And the real success isn’t just in that continually expanding legal skill set, but in the knowledge that she has accomplished it all while staying true to herself—and to her family.
Stretch, Row, and Grow
Robyn Goldstein has added “successful entrepreneur” to her growing list of accomplishments. She and her husband recently purchased rights to StretchLab and Row House fitness centers in the greater Houston area. One of each is online at present, with more in the pipeline. Goldstein handles social media at night, after the kids have gone to bed, and also oversees retail purchasing. Her husband runs the businesses full-time. “It’s a whole new dimension for us,” Goldstein says. “I like to say I have two children, one dog, and many baby businesses to look after.”