Diana Chafey: An accomplished GC discusses her legal career

Chafey_Diana_TWG_944 (4)If anyone fits the description of being “self-directed,” it’s Diana Chafey. She grew up in a military family with no lawyers around her, but decided in fifth grade that she would one day practice law. In her young mind, a legal degree was as versatile as they come—she could likely apply a legal education to any field she may decide to pursue.

During her senior year at Arizona State University, Chafey made another firm decision—she was going to live in Chicago. She had always wanted to move to a large metropolis and -after visiting the Windy City with a friend her senior year, she found the perfect new hometown.

Chafey took a year off after her college graduation to work as a paralegal at a big law firm in Phoenix, then headed to Valparaiso University Law School, about an hour outside of Chicago. Not surprisingly, her career flourished upon graduation. More 

The GC who started as a “temp”

Evers-Legal-Executive-Search-Culture-Fit-Feb-2018When Stephen Sitley was named senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Sears Holdings Corp., my mind raced through the Way Back machine to a fond memory of my roots as a legal recruiter.

In 1993, I was cutting my teeth and learning this business with a legal staffing firm called The Wallace Law Registry (now part of Kelly Services). My boss and mentor Shelley Wallace had landed a big fish in the Chicago in-house legal market—an opportunity to recruit talent for Sears. This goes back to a time when Sears’ headquarters was based in a tall tower bearing its name. Sears was under a hiring freeze, so Shelley convinced the general counsel at the time to try an unconventional approach to staffing his department—use something called “contract attorneys.”

My marching orders as Shelley’s new and inexperienced legal recruiter in Chicago … find “permanent placement” caliber talent willing to work for law departments via a third-party employer. We avoided using the word “temporary,” as that carried a negative perception on the talent level and role for which the lawyer was deployed. Law departments pioneered the use of contract attorneys in the ’90s, long before law firms began using a lower paid variety for dead end document review work. More 

Quality over dollar signs: What do we know about in-house counsel career satisfaction?

Evers-Legal-In-House-Legal-Career-Advice-Feb-2018Career satisfaction. What does it really mean? Finding happiness in any job means different things to different people. While money is often an important source of career satisfaction, it’s not always at the top of the list.

At Evers Legal Search, we are conducting our second-ever Career Satisfaction Survey for in-house counsel to find out what truly makes in-house lawyers happy in their work. Click here to take the survey now!

We learned a lot from our first survey two years ago. Most notably, that in-house counsel value many things in their careers above financial compensation—such as responsibilities, supporting the company’s mission and working with a great team.  More 

Adtalem, Senior Corporate Counsel (Higher Education)

This is an industry specific search.  We seek an attorney with Higher Education experience.  Either for-profit or non-profit experience.  You will support several Title IV Institutions in a broad ranging role that includes:  Serve as Board Counsel to Board of Trustees; handle industry specific commercial agreements; advise on accreditor and licensing issues, sponsored research, and other matters related to higher education and for-profit education issues; develop and modify policies and best practices for compliance with industry regulations and the disciplinary process.

Competitive compensation includes a generous Annual equity grant.  5+ years of legal experience, minimum 3 years of Higher Education industry experience.  Ideally, you will have experience with consumer protection laws, accreditor and licensing compliance, and commercial agreements.

Adtalem recently moved its headquarters into beautiful new space in downtown Chicago, and this is a new position with a growing department.  Search is national, relocation is available.

EVERS LEGAL SEARCH has been exclusively retained to source candidates for this opening with Adtalem.  Inquiries made directly to Adtalem will be routed to our search firm.

Email resume to info@everslegal.com or call 312-225-1144.  Thank you.

From a high school mock trial to the GC seat of Dyson: Jason Brown

JLBrown 2015By the time Minneapolis-area native Jason Brown was in high school, he already knew he wanted to be a lawyer. During a civics class his sophomore year, Brown participated in a mock trial, in which he served as lead defense counsel. From preparing for trial and creating presentations to participating in deep strategic thinking and gaining skills that could serve to help those in need, Brown fell in love with the work and the idea he could actually make a living doing it.

Around that same time, Brown’s mother introduced him to an old childhood friend of hers who was a professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. After the professor gave the 16-year-old a personal tour of the Howard campus, Brown fell in love again—this time with one of the country’s prestigious colleges.

Brown’s destiny was set. After high school, he attended Howard University—where he excelled as a student—and immediately upon graduation, went straight to Howard University School of Law. “Being an African American kid from the Twin Cities, it was a huge and strikingly sharp contrast to go from there to an historically black college that is so rich in history as Howard,” Brown says. “I jumped at the chance to do something that would be different and challenging.” More 

Aim High: Career Advice from 4 Successful GCs

Evers-Legal-Executive-Recruiter-Dec17-Your-CareerThe role of general counsel is a coveted position for which many lawyers strive.. But the path to the GC seat varies greatly. While some highly successful general counsel cut their teeth in big law firms, others landed junior level in-house positions straight out of law school—and there are many other paths as well.

While there is no clear, defined career path to follow that will ensure lawyers with their sights on the top legal seat of a big company lands it, there are steps they can take and skill sets they can gain that will set them up for success.

Each year, we interview successful senior in-house counsel about their lives and careers, and we ask them what advice they would give a young lawyer who would like to become a GC someday. Last year, our GCs offered such great insights as develop emotional intelligence, do the work you love, and simply listen. Here’s a roundup of the suggestions our 2017 GC profile participants had for aspiring senior in-house counsel:  More 

Hitting on All Cylinders (2017 style)

Evers-Legal-In-house-Legal-Recuiter-Dec17-QAI hope you are feeling as good about your employer as I am this holiday season.

2017 has been one of the most enjoyable years of my career, and I am extraordinarily thankful to our clients, candidates and friends of our firm for this result. We handled interesting and challenging searches for great companies such as Adtalem, Baxter, Re:Sources USA and Principal Financial Group. We were proud to place the first in-house attorney with a Crain’s Fast Fifty company, Maven Wave. And we have several Adjunct Counsel on secondments with Fortune 500 law departments.

We improved our Adjunct Counsel offering so that our contract attorneys can opt into health care and other benefits. And I tweaked our traditional permanent search pricing structure to reflect how companies want to go about their Senior Counsel to Assistant General Counsel level searches. Moreover, the year is closing with the likelihood of an exciting Deputy General Counsel (with succession planning in mind) search in Q1 of 2018 that we will handle confidentially. More 

Principal Financial Group positions (Des Moines, IA)

Our wonderful long-term client Principal Financial Group has a history of happy in-house attorneys who love their jobs and stay for a long time.  Relocation is fully covered.  We realize that Des Moines, Iowa is appealing to some, and a non-starter for others.  Great cost of living, larger city amenities with the feel of smaller city convenience.  If Des Moines is for you, then please consider the following openings in PFG’s law department and call Mike Evers at 312-225-1144 for details, or email your resume to mike@everslegal.com.

Litigation Counsel

This lawyer will work on a variety of litigated matters including Group Life and DI, class actions, and general litigation as well as subpoenas and regulatory investigations.  

ERISA Counsel

This lawyer will support RIS FSA with qualified plan issues and potentially RIS Annuities with retail annuities.  Pension plan work will include issues relating to pension plan operations and qualification, investment issues, product design, fiduciary/transactional operations, prohibited transaction rules and the ERISA/IRC provisions impacting the same.  The pension plan work will include regulatory compliance and advocacy work.  Retail annuities work would include work with both fixed and variable annuities and would require knowledge of both insurance and securities laws applicable to annuities. 

 Asset Management Counsel

This lawyer will provide legal services to a number of internal clients on a variety of matters in support of a global asset management business.  Candidates should have strong corporate and transactional experience. Experience with laws and regulations applicable to investment management including US and international regulations regarding investment advisers and investment funds is a plus. 

Inquiries and resume submissions to:  mike@everslegal.com, 312-225-1144

6 – 10 months (begin Jan), in Loop, M&A/Contracts

Our Fortune 500 law department client is seeking a full-time on-site secondee to assist on a divestiture.  M&A experience desired, but a strong in-house commercial contracts background will be considered as well.  Position is located in downtown Chicago.  Strong hourly rate via our firm.  Client name provided upon inquiry, we simply do not wish to make that public at this time.  Please email mike@everslegal.com to express interest.

Senior Counsel, Volvo Financial Services (NC)

Our client, Volvo Financial Services (VFS), is the finance arm of the Volvo Group… one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, and is the world’s leading producer of heavy-diesel engines.

We are looking for an attorney with commercial finance or capital markets experience for a Senior Counsel position reporting to the General Counsel of VFS.  The position is located in Greensboro, North Carolina (relo assistance is available).  Ideally 5+ years out of law school, coming straight from a law firm corporate finance practice, a boutique, or a financial institution.

You will work with sales, operations and credit functions in developing and implementing necessary legal policies and documentation for commercial truck, tractor, trailer, construction equipment, bus and other specialized transportation and commercial equipment financing products in the Unites States.  UCC Article 2A and Article 9 commercial contracts.  Support compliance initiatives, such as FCPA, anti-money laundering, and data privacy.  Occasional outside counsel management over litigation/bankruptcy matters and support on restructuring of troubled transactions.

If interested, please email your resume to mike@everslegal.com or call 312-225-1144 with questions.  Thank you.