Megan Belcher, vice president and chief employment counsel for ConAgra Foods
If you are inside counsel, chances are you got your professional start at a law firm. And chances are, if you are a female in-house counsel, you have come face-to-face with the difficulty that exists in aspiring to attain a legal leadership position by embarking on a career trajectory within the confined culture of a law firm with old-fashioned roots.
Today, there are women running the legal affairs of 106 major American corporations, nearly double the number from 2001. While significant progress has been made in the last decade-plus, there is much more work to be done. In the legal industry, there has been a groundswell of support for the InsideCounsel-sponsored initiative known as Women, Influence and Power in Law (WIPL). Last fall, the group held its first conference in Washington, D.C., and since has been gaining momentum from a series of related projects and events that are generating a national following.
Ripe for opportunity
Given the large number of GCs in their 60s, Angela Spivey, a partner at McGuireWoods in Atlanta, who co-hosted the event with Belcher, agrees that the industry has approached a new era of opportunity for women counsel.