10 Things to Read from Women in Law

In honor of Women’s History Month, ACC collected ten powerful moments from recent profiles on and articles written by women in-house counsel.

1. “Why does it take a pandemic for us to step back and honestly ask one another such a simple question?” 

Article: “A Time for Honesty and Transparency” 

Shannon Klinger, group general counsel for Novartis International AG, told ACC for this profile that she spent the last year learning how to intentionally connect with other people. She now starts every meeting by asking how everyone is doing and has encouraged a strong habit of work-life balance. She is open with her team that working virtually is not her preferred mode of work and urges them to express their own challenges so they can find common solutions together. 

2. “Failing to set boundaries — and as a result not giving yourself enough time to rest, recharge, and recover — can increase the risk of mental health problems.” 

Article: “10 Tips for Mindfulness and Well-being" 

Carolyn Herzog, Monica Phillips, and Janet Bawcom join ACC’s Justin Connor in this article to provide tangible tips for maintaining your well-being as an in-house lawyer.  

3. “Technology can’t hold a candle to what lawyers can achieve using soft skills such as creativity, empathy, and collaborative abilities.” 

Article: “How Your Willingness to Embrace Technology Enhances Soft Skills that Boost Your Competitive Edge” 

Parley Pro CEO and general counsel and ACC’s Legal Tech columnist Olga Mack writes in her January column that technology has the ability to change not only the services required of in-house counsel but also the skills in-house counsel can gain. These skills include constant learning, diverse collaboration, and active listening. 

4. “Being on a board of directors is something I would naturally be interested in.” 

Article: “Things to Consider Before Seeking a Board Membership Experience” 

After attending an executive education program specifically designed to promote the inclusion of women on boards of directors, Gabriella Porcelli, Fendi’s general counsel and worldwide IP, ethics, and compliance director, compiled a list of the lessons she learned about how to join a company’s board. 

5. “Being a leader is not about what you can produce, but what your team can produce.” 

Article: “Being a Leader Means Changing How to Think About Success” 

Ingredion Inc. CLO Janet Bawcom shares the secrets to her team’s success. She stimulates authentic conversation on her team in order to build trust and requires that every team member is always learning something and teaching something. “It is a virtuous circle,” she explains. 

6. “Any place that’s been managed by the same person for 27 years is ripe for some change.” 

Article: “From the Boiler Room to the C-Suite in a Single Generation” 

This profile on Elisa Garcia traces her history from her father’s job in the boiler room in Macy’s Brooklyn store to Garcia’s new role as the company’s CLO and corporate secretary. Garcia’s mindset at Macy’s is a culmination of lessons learned after roles at Domino’s Pizza and Home Depot. And she used it extensively to spearhead a major restructuring of Macy’s legal department. 

7. “You have the power and influence to get things done — why not use that power for the good of the legal profession, your companies, and society as a whole?” 

Article: “The Time is Now: 10 Ways In-house Counsel Can Advocate for Change” 

Three women, Jennifer Deitloff, Shawntal M. Smith, and Caren Ulrich Stacy — all C-Suite or general counsel for their respective organizations — wrote this article full of practical advice on how to make your company more diverse. They explain that while diversity and inclusion might not seem like the legal department’s job, in-house lawyers have a unique position to influence real change in their organizations. Plus, with each action item includes an example to show real-world change. 

8. “Keep your moral compass in the right place.” 

Article: “The Right Legal Mindset” 

As executive vice president and general counsel at AIG, a global insurance company operating in 80 countries, Lucy Fato leverages her experience in legal, compliance, and regulatory matters to manage these global departments. She explains how her legal mindset helps her guide the board and C-suite in making ethical decisions.  

9. “Make sure you are working hard, learning, growing, and continuing with that growth, that is where you will have the greatest impact.” 

Article: “Stock Up on These Executive Traits” 

When Rashida La Lande joined Kraft Heinz, her goal for the legal team was to cultivate a growth mindset. She didn’t want her team to stress about the things they can’t control. Instead, she focuses on their work ethic and growth.  

10. “You will be able to explore your creative and business-oriented side and build a network of highly qualified people.” 

Article: “5 Lessons from Working In-house at a Start-up" 

After joining as associate general counsel at one of Berlin's start-ups, TIER Mobility GmbH, Anne Graue reflects on the differences between start-ups and the typical in-house role. In this quick read, Graue advocates for the benefits of start-up work.