When did you first become interested in law?
I first became interested in law during college. In addition to co-hosting a talk radio show on the college radio station, I interned with two separate radio stations to learn the broadcasting business. During that time, I was sent to the courthouse with an on-air reporter to cover high profile trials. My job was to assist the reporter write copy that was then read on-air. I found the trials and entire legal proceedings fascinating! That’s when I got my first “itch” to go into law.
What brought you to your specific practice area?
To be a great general counsel, I believe one has to have adaptability, a thirst for knowledge, the ability to build constituencies and a wide variety of experience in different areas of the law. It was all of these drivers that lead me to my position at Alliant Credit Union over 9 years ago. Experience as a litigator, a prosecutor, in private practice, with the government and with a global technology consulting firm, gave me the background necessary to excel in the financial services industry as trusted counsel. I thrive on the variety of challenges and subject matter that comes my way on a daily basis. Most of all, I am driven to help my company and its business partners succeed.
How do you think firms / companies can develop environments fertile for success?
I believe that both firms and companies can help their employees succeed by ensuring that the employees understand what is expected from them and how that employee will be evaluated. Making sure that a manager and his or her direct report understand how success will be measured is vital (that includes the measurement of success for the company or firm, the team and the individual). Encouraging development and growth are also important. I believe that managing attorneys is very different than managing others. The most successful companies and firms convey the message that employees are valued, that their opinions count and that they will be rewarded for their success.
What strategies do you employ to win business?
In Chicago, we have many talented attorneys from which to choose to handle legal matters. I am continuously meeting and evaluating potential outside counsel. First impressions do count. If I am favorably impressed by an attorney at a CLE or networking function, I file that information away. Then, when it comes time to vet different attorneys and firms, I pull out that information and often call on those folks to discuss the possibility of working with us. I always tell people not to underestimate the value of networking and making a great first impression. At the end of the day, selection will depend on criteria such as subject matter knowledge, fit and price/value.