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Talent development is crucial for in-house law departments

Top corporate lawyers don't achieve success on their own

As I was growing up in journalism, I had a lot of help. I launched my career in the late 1990s, working as an unpaid intern at Seattle magazine. Impressed with my dedication, my editors eventually promoted me to contributing writer and I began pulling in my first income in the field.

I moved back to Chicago in 2001, and landed my first full-time editorial position at a local horticulture magazine. For a year-and-a half, I honed my skills as a reporter and writer, and in 2003, I secured the associate editor position at Corporate Legal Times, now InsideCounsel. It was in that position, and subsequent positions with this magazine, that my career really flourished. I was challenged in my role, given increasing responsibilities and a strong sense of autonomy, and most importantly, I was nurtured by my editors.

In this month’s cover story (“Top Tier,” p. 28), InsideCounsel delves into the careers of several rising legal minds in corporate America today. The story introduces the R-3 100 program, a list of 100 women who will likely be ready in three years to become general counsel. (R-3 stands for “ready” in “three” years.) InsideCounsel reporters chatted with several women from that list of 100—taking a look at where they got their start, where they are today and where they’re ready to be in the near future. That is, sitting in the general counsel’s seat.

But all of these women reached this point and will reach their next career milestones, not only via their own talent, intelligence and motivation, but also with the help of mentors who continue to help set them on their paths to success.

As part of the InsideCounsel Transformative Leadership’s Project 5/165 program, which aims to promote placement of women as Fortune 500 GCs, the R-3 100 program underscores the importance of the talent development and career nurturing that goes into achieving that goal. It is a call to action for general counsel to look around at your staff, pay attention to talent, recognize it for what it is and nurture the careers of those who clearly demonstrate a propensity to rise to the top.

When I look back on my career, I’m so grateful for my first editors at Seattle magazine who took a chance on me and my editor here at InsideCounsel who recognized my talent and pushed me to be my best. They’re as responsible for my success as I am, and I am forever grateful.

Editor

Cathleen Flahardy

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