Larissa Sanchez Fields has dual passions. She is a seasoned litigator who has spent her career in property and bad faith litigation, defending clients during some of their toughest times. She is also a proud military wife of an Air Force pilot and uses her experiences and insights to advocate for and inspire military spouses.
And she can pursue those passions in harmony working as an associate general counsel for USAA, a leading financial services company that serves the military community.
Being in a military family means Fields understands the challenges and opportunities that the military faces, and she uses that firsthand knowledge to drive the best outcomes for USAA members.
In her nearly sixteen-year career, Fields has focused on weather-related cases, a path that Hurricane Katrina unintentionally created when she was a law student at Tulane University. She then clerked for a judge handling hurricane-related cases and her career eventually led her to USAA, one of the nation’s largest insurance companies.
Fields currently leads the team handling the company’s bad faith property litigation nationwide. She dedicates her time to building the right teams to defend USAA and its members in property lawsuits which she accomplishes by breaking down silos—pulling together teams based on experience, not geography. She further ensures that outside counsel understand USAA’s mission and military membership to know who they’re fighting for and why.
Leading by example, Fields is a role model and champion for military spouses, who often must pivot because military life requires frequent moves and changes. Spouses’ careers can sometimes take a backseat, and Fields aims to show that families can accommodate equally demanding careers for each spouse with the right mindset and support.
“Ten years of being a military spouse has shaped my career, but it can be tough,” Fields says. “My husband and I have had to make sacrifices along the way, like being apart for extended periods of time due to our respective work commitments. That is really hard on our whole family.”
Her saving grace has been employers and mentors who have provided support and opportunities for her to continue doing what she loves, surrounded by a family who always comes first.
Before working for USAA, Fields worked with the organization by providing outside counsel as a partner at a law firm. Early in her career, she was forced with having to choose between her job or being with her husband, but thanks to a leader who supported her as a manager and mentor, the law firm allowed her to work remotely at a time when that was uncommon and harder to do.
“I don’t believe I would have had much of a career if it hadn’t been for my former boss,” Fields says. “He not only fought for me to work remotely, but he gave me the opportunity to try numerous cases.”
At one point in her career, Fields was asked to move to San Antonio but her husband had to stay in New Mexico where they were stationed. Her son was only three, and she was pregnant with her daughter. Because of her husband’s commitment to the Air Force, she knew she had to make a life-changing career decision so her family could stay together.
She eventually ended up working at USAA, where she’s found that same leadership support to accommodate her military life—no matter the circumstances. She’s had the opportunity to be a visible advocate by representing USAA at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Award Gala, which honors companies, nonprofits, and individuals who support the military and military hiring.
Her husband is awaiting his next assignment orders, and Fields knows it will come with some tough challenges. But choosing between being a military spouse and being an attorney at a company that serves families like hers won’t be one of those. She knows USAA and her leadership team will find a way to enable her to continue her important work while being with her family.
“I support my husband being in the Air Force because the military needs more leaders like him,” Fields says. “And USAA supports me so I can be a military spouse and have a legal career that I love.”
“We are proud to work alongside Larissa. Her skills in analysis, persuasion, and case management are unparalleled. She is a trial lawyer, and it shows. We congratulate her on this worthy recognition.”
–Megan Starace Ben’Ary and Daniel T. Plunkett, Partners