Bruce Lymburn is General Counsel of Clif Bar & Company. The Emeryville company best known for its signature energy bar, Clif Bar, also produces a variety of organic foods and drinks. Lymburn has been an active BASF member for four years and regularly participates in the organization’s Legal Leaders of the Bay Area Dinners and in-house counsel events.
Learn a bit more about him:
1. After graduating from high school, I took three “gap” years and worked as a seasonal U.S. Forest Service firefighter, on a “hot shot” crew. This was good general counsel training. Law departments are a bit like firefighters – we spend periods of relative quiet at our station, doing routine maintenance, and then the alarm bell rings and we leap into action and meet a crisis as part of a team.
2. I met Gary and Kit, the owners and founders of Clif Bar, when our children were in pre-school together 19 years ago, and we got to know each other and became friends. At that time, of course, Clif Bar was just starting out and very small. Some managing partners tell this story to new lawyers, because it shows that great clients can come from the most ordinary and everyday settings.
3. Although my interest in law started in high school, my undergraduate degree is in earth sciences. I knew that history and law would be lifelong interests, but I wanted to use the abundant resources of college to study a different and fascinating subject, one that I otherwise probably would not learn in detail except in college.
4. I’ve been a pilot for over 32 years. I became interested in aviation through my father, who was a pilot in WWII, and who was shot down over Germany and spent over a year as a POW. I own an airplane and use it for business and personal use.
5. In addition to being Clif Bar’s general counsel, I head up Clif Bar’s aviation department. Like lawyers, pilots tend to be intelligent, self-sufficient, individualistic, and opinionated – and thus challenging and exciting to lead and manage.
6. In 2007, when I was 54, I decided to backpack the John Muir Trail, which runs about 220 miles from Yosemite Valley to the top of Mt. Whitney. I hiked it in segments over four summers, and it was one of my peak life experiences. I backpacked one 50 mile segment, including a hike up Mt. Whitney, with my 10 year old son Griffin.
7. Clif Bar offers a sabbatical program and I just took mine. Part of it was bicycling across Scotland on an e-bike, which inspired me to buy one on my return. I bike to Clif Bar two or three days per week.
8. Clif Bar consistently is ranked as one of the greatest places to work in America, and there is no doubt about it. There is excellent work/life balance that allows me to spend quality time with my wonderful wife Linda and our three sons.
9. I became interested in “green building” in the mid-1990’s, and was one of the first lawyers in the US to become a LEED accredited professional. Inside every real estate lawyer is a frustrated real estate project manager, and I had my chance with our Clif Bar headquarters in Emeryville. I put together and managed a really talented and exceptional design and construction team, and our LEED Platinum Headquarters not only won several design awards, but also helps Clif Bar work in a creative, collaborative and efficient way.
10. Over the past 19 years, the Clif Bar law department has grown into a group of five smart, diverse, talented lawyers and paralegals. We all love being in-house legal professionals for a successful company with strong social and environmental aspirations.