Adriana Suringa Luedke, director and associate general counsel of IP and technology law at Lockheed Martin, is very detail-oriented. But the sheer diversity of legal matters on which she works makes it sometimes difficult to play back everything her workday involved around the family dinner table.
“There are days that I couldn’t tell you a single thing that I did,” Luedke says, laughing. “I work with a lot of different people on a lot of different projects, and as a result of that, I’ve learned to change channels a lot.” It’s a metaphor the lawyer has coined over the years as it’s become abundantly clear that her ability to switch focus on a dime is both her superpower and an absolute necessity for an in-house role at a company whose interests are as varied and complex as Lockheed Martin’s.
In discussing what’s currently on her docket, Luedke has to stop herself; listing the types of matters she’s currently working on could take over the entire conversation. There is just that much.
Luedke is Lockheed Martin’s legal point of contact for large vendor contracts with companies like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. These contracts are complicated and include intellectual property and data security issues that need to be overseen by someone who can provide legal guidance on finding common ground.
In addition to providing support to Lockheed Martin’s enterprise business and digital transformation and data governance functions, she also advises teams working to harness the latest technologies in areas such as 5G networking, advanced computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).
In a recent example, the AI team is developing a cognitive model to help analyze and forecast the spread of forest fires. “We want to try and predict and contribute to local, state, and federal firefighting entities to analyze data and help predict where future fires may occur,” Luedke says. “I’ve been supporting the third-party relationships we’ve enlisted in that endeavor.”
The lawyer also supports the company’s active relationship with the Aerospace Industries Association, a collection of stakeholders in the industry that do business with the United States government. Luedke currently serves as vice chair of the AIA’s IP Committee. The week before this interview, she participated in a virtual workshop held by the Air Force Material Command on improving ways of working in digital development and delivery environments.
“Whenever new regulations are proposed, or we need to address evolving challenges as in this instance, or if there is something we want to communicate across the industry, this forum allows the government and industry to work together,” she explains. “When it comes to issues like digital delivery, we’ve gone from a situation where deliverables used to be discrete items that you could box and hand over, and now we have fully interactive digital environments being accessed in real time by multiple parties with differing interests and levels of access. It’s a big challenge for the government to accommodate these environments, and we’re helping them figure out how to make it work.”
Luedke also has a deep interest in mediation, which, together with her wealth of IP and technology experience, may explain why she’s so effective at tackling so much. In 2018, the attorney completed Harvard Law School Negotiation Institute’s Dispute Mediation Program as well as advanced mediation training by the American Bar Association.
“These skills are very helpful in getting parties in a room to talk about what their needs are and getting them to mutually invest in solutions,” Luedke explains. “I really enjoy it, because I find that I’m able to facilitate those discussions and get two parties to find a way forward together. It’s something I take a lot of pride in and something that motivates me.”
This also speaks to Luedke’s skill as a listener, which she relies on to engage with those bringing her questions. “To solve complex issues and problems, it has to be an interactive discussion,” the lawyer says. “It’s not a situation where people come to you for an answer, you give it, and they go away. It is really important to talk through issues and possibilities and build a solution together.”
Even with her depth of expertise, Luedke says that she frequently asks what may seem like rudimentary questions to get perspective, learn more, and help create a relationship that can ultimately lead to positive outcomes.
“I’ve learned that I need to ask basic questions to get people aligned, and I often repeat back what I’ve heard to make sure that I’m understanding it correctly,” Luedke says. “It opens up an iterative process that, many times, allows the participants in the conversation to develop some new insight as to where others are coming from. You want to engage people in discussion so you can see where their issues are. Sometimes it takes a bit longer, but then it becomes a true conversation among stakeholders.”
“Adriana has a deep understanding of intellectual property and technology issues that are critical to Lockheed Martin’s operations and strategic plans. She is an ideal partner to internal clients and outside counsel alike.”
–Meryl Bernstein, Partner