David Lawer: An Alaskan New Yorker Senior Vice President and General Counsel, First National Bank Alaska, Retired.


Born and raised in New York City, David Lawer came to Alaska in 1971 to work on a construction crew to help pay his way through college and law school. After graduating from law school, he returned to Alaska and in late 1976 entered private practice law in Anchorage.

Over the course of the next seventeen years, Lawer--who specialized in banking and finance--represented more than thirty banks, mortgage companies, and insurance companies with investments in Alaska. In 1993 he left the practice to become senior vice president and general counsel of First National Bank Alaska (FNBA), his principal client for many years.

At FNBA, Lawer supervised human resources and the bank's risk management and insurance programs, as well as central loan processing activities. His duties also included supervision of the bank's regulatory compliance efforts, its employee benefits program, and legal and legislative affairs.

Now retired from banking, Lawer continues to volunteer in support of the community and the Red Cross of Alaska. He telephoned scores of Alaskans during this past summer's wildfires to thank donors and volunteers for helping make a difference. Nonprofits that he supports share that he has always been an active member, not just contributing financial support but always showing up to serve as a mentor for others on how to truly give back.

Lawer is well-known throughout the community for his larger-than-life personality. He is always thoughtful in his choice of words and direct and to the point when providing advice. As an "Alaskan New Yorker," Lawer continues to be a proud Yankees fan with a great sense of humor.

Asked today what his crowning accomplishments are, he shares that he was fortunate to meet a beautiful Alaskan girl and be in the Last Frontier just as the pipeline days were starting. Most importantly, he and his wife raised a successful daughter, also an attorney and active community volunteer, who has made him the grandfather of two wonderful grandchildren.

A Q&A with Junior Achievement:

Junior Achievement: How did you get your start?

David Lawer: I applied for a lot of jobs so that I could afford to go to college.

JA: What was your family life and upbringing like?

Lawer: We all worked and had different jobs. My father was a great guy; we did everything together. We worked together. We golfed together. We played ball together. Because I got home earlier than everyone else, I was responsible for making dinner. I followed my mother's...

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