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Please tell us about your current role and how you got to where you are today.
I am currently Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel, Head of Employment Law for LPL Financial, a leading provider of investment and business solutions for financial advisors across the nation. My team and I partner with human capital and business leaders to protect the Company by ensuring compliance with various federal, state, and local employment laws as well as helping to evaluate, balance, and mitigate risks associated with various employment related activities. After spending my entire career at Moore & Van Allen – from summer associate to partner – I decided that I was ready to leave behind my ligation roots and pivot to a role that was predominately focused on advice, counseling, and strategy. In April of 2021, I joined LPL as a Vice President, Associate General Counsel on the Employment Law team. In Spring of 2022, the long-time head of the Employment Team announced (unexpectedly to me) that she was retiring. LPL began a nationwide search for her replacement and, despite my relatively short tenure with LPL, I applied for the position. After a lengthy interview process, I was selected and took over the role in mid-July.
What suggestions do you have for attorneys looking to better engage his or her clients and become a more integrated, trusted advisor? Understand your client’s business inside and outside. For example, make sure you can answer the following questions: how does the business make money? what are their internal system constraints? what is leadership’s risk appetite? what is their employee culture? who are the primary decision-makers (i.e. legal or business leaders)? In depth knowledge of the business allows you to tailor your legal advice to the client’s business in a meaningful way. Very little is more frustrating than getting legal advice from an attorney that just isn’t feasible for our business. The best outside counsel to work with know our business in such a way that allows them to partner with me to come up with practical, actionable solutions that align with our Company systems, risk profile, and culture.
What are some best practices for junior lawyers looking to stand out and move up in your organization?
Build relationships throughout the organization. If someone approaches you with a question that is outside your area, proactively connect them with the right subject matter expert (i.e. don’t just say “not my area”). Seek out opportunities to expand your knowledge area and responsibilities. Build a reputation for being responsive and reliable. Request and embrace feedback. And, of course, do good work.
Are you hiring, or is your organization, hiring?
Yes, LPL is hiring across the board. There are multiple open roles in the legal department and I am currently interviewing for a 3rd Vice President, Associate Counsel position on the employment team.