General counsel today are challenged with balancing regulatory issues and global economic crises while adding value beyond legal expertise to help businesses achieve corporate objectives. It’s a tall order, but one that must be delivered by GCs in today’s ever-increasing competitive business landscape.
Legal experts will address these challenges during the Women, Influence and Power in Law luncheon session, “Global Risk and Local Challenges from the GC Perspective,” on Oct. 3 in Washington, D.C. Among the panelists is Jane Sherburne, senior executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at BNY Mellon.
Considering that legal departments within large enterprises are a non-revenue generator, GCs must continually demonstrate how the law department adds value within the company.
“When you go in-house, you’re a cost center,” Sherburne told InsideCounsel in a recent interview. “All of a sudden, instead of being the center of the universe, you’re a necessary drain on resources. It’s a different kind of mindset that requires a broader range of skills to be an effective business partner.”
Sherburne advises that up-and-coming female attorneys work for someone who is the best at what they do; to learn by being exposed to excellence and contributing to it, similar to the experience Sherburne had with notable attorney Lloyd Cutler. That way, female attorneys can learn important problem-solving skills that are applicable in many situations, regardless of the sector of law that suits them the best.
Denise F. Keane, general counsel of of Altria Group, Inc. will moderate the Oct. 3 session, which will also feature panelists Suzanne Rich Folsom, EVP, general counsel and chief compliance officer of ACADEMI and Debbie Shon, managing director and general counsel of BYS Investments.
The Women, Influence & Power in Law conference offers an opportunity for unprecedented exchange with women outside counsel. The event runs from Oct. 2-4 and is being held at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.