BANK ON IT: Lydia Davis Frizzell, JD, General Counsel

By Madeline Martin on Friday, March 31, 2023

Name: Lydia Davis Frizzell, JD  |  Age: 29  |  Hometown: DeWitt  |  College (Undergraduate): University of Mississippi  |  Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science & History  |  College (Graduate): Juris Doctorate at William H. Bowen School of Law at UA Little Rock  |  Job Title: General Counsel | Employer: Farmers & Merchants Bank

Why did you choose a career in this field?

I believed it would allow me to practice in multiple areas of law. 

Did you always plan to go this route?

Not at all. While in law school, I never explored the prospect of working in-house for a corporation. I had an interest in agricultural law and anticipated I would explore that area. However, I was afforded an opportunity to work for Farmers & Merchants Bank… one of the top ag lenders in the state… in my first year out of law school. I encourage everyone to leave all options open; you never know what will fit you best!

How did getting a graduate degree prepare you for this role?

Law school gives you tools to spot issues and research accordingly. This prepares you to practice in any area of law, and I have adapted my tools to banking law.

Why do you think students should consider a career like yours?

Being in-house counsel really is the best of both worlds. My one client is Farmers & Merchants Bank, which allows me to focus all my efforts in one direction.

What skills do people need to succeed in this field?

You need to have a knack for having difficult conversations in a compassionate way. In banking, we are dealing with people’s money—their livelihoods. Often times, people can be defensive because of that, and you need to be able to diffuse those situations.

Who is your financial role model or mentor?

My grandfather. He was the definition of a self-made man. As a farmer, he understood the importance of a dollar and how critical it is to have a good working relationship with your bank and lender.