An unconventional path: Anne Fitzgerald’s journey to the top legal spot at Cineplex

Anne Fitzgerald_2013.high resNative North Carolinian Anne Fitzgerald didn’t grow up wanting to be a lawyer. She envisioned herself, rather, donning a pair of sea legs and living the adventurous life of a scuba diver.

After she finished her undergraduate studies at Duke University, Fitzgerald took a year off, working in Australia with Operation Raleigh, a London-based organization that offered its participants the opportunity to circumnavigate the world doing community service. During this time, Fitzgerald conducted research on the mallee fowl, but she also found herself living her dream: working with the Victorian Archeological Society, scuba diving off the coast of Southern Australia mud-mapping shipwrecks.

“I was a big scuba diver and thought I could do that as part of my career, but after a year in a cold wetsuite, the reality of living that life wasn’t appealing as a 30-year plan,” Fitzgerald says. More 

Diversity in the legal profession is not a given … yet

DiversityAt InsideCounsel’s SuperConference two weeks ago, I had the privilege of moderating a best practices panel on the topic of diversity.

The panelists were terrific, especially since I threw out a curve ball we did not prepare for in advance. During a lunch earlier at the conference, I was struck by the comment of a white male attendee. I was in recruitment mode, encouraging folks to attend our session versus other concurrent session options. This is a good guy, and he gave me the gift of candor by saying that “diversity is a given” where he works, so he’s not sure there’s much left to be said on the topic. More 

Press coverage of our Diversity panel

I was privileged to moderate “Beyond Diversity:  Creating Corporate Culture” at the 2014 Inside Counsel “Superconference.”  My thanks to Maria Green of Illinois Tool Works, David Rawlinson of Grainger, and Martin Montes of Exelon for their panel participation.  I’ll be writing more about our panel later this month in my “Culture Fit” column for our monthly newsletter.  Mike

For IC’s recap of our panel, please click here.

Principal Financial Group: two positions

Repeat business is the most satisfying kind, so I wish to start by thanking the leadership team at Principal Financial Group for coming back to our firm.  We proudly placed two attorneys with PFG a few years back, and they are both loving their careers there.  Here is the deal:  Des Moines, Iowa.  If you are from Iowa or are open to moving to Iowa for a wonderful opportunity, then please continue reading.  Full relo package included, of course.

Principal Financial Group is a financial services leader that is always mentioned in best places to work features.  This law department offers the increasingly rare combination of:  high caliber interesting legal work, plus great work/life balance, plus compensation that will allow you to live like a king or queen in Des Moines.

Two positions, both subject matter specific:  1.  ’40 Act securities expert.  2.  ERISA expert. More 

Curt Kramer finds a surprisingly satisfying career as a senior legal executive

D7C_3855Even as a child, Curt Kramer knew he would go to law school, but never really bought into the idea of actually practicing law. His father—a successful lawyer with his own, small private practice in Boston—impressed upon his son that the profession was a noble one and instilled in Kramer an appreciation for the legal system.

“It can take your kids away from you, it can put you in jail, it can tell you how much in taxes to pay,” Kramer recalls thinking about the law. “So I figured, if there’s any schmuck I’m going to listen to out there, it’s going to be me.”

Despite the fact that Kramer was reluctant to commit himself to a career in law, he graduated from Quinnipiac School of Law in Connecticut in 1995. And after receiving an LLM from Georgetown University, he did what he thought he wouldn’t do—he joined a Washington, D.C., law firm. More 

6 Steps potential job-changers must take before making the leap

ChoicesThe grass is always greener. Sometimes.

We’ve all been faced with the exciting-yet-intimidating opportunity of a new job. But making that move can feel like trading a known evil for an unknown one. It’s always difficult to leave a comfortable position, even when that position is unfulfilling. So job candidates—particularly attorneys—will to do their homework. As they should.

But you can’t nail everything down. Understand there is always an element of risk to making a job change.

The following tips will help alleviate nerves and maximize the likelihood of making the right decision. More 

Special invitation and updates

EversInviteTime flies. We are already into Q2 and now our fourth issue of eNews. Thus far, I have focused on single issue columns such as best practices for hiring and insourcing.  This month I extend a special invitation to you, and touch base quickly on a few topics that I hope will interest you.

As a panel moderator at this year’s InsideCounsel “SuperConference,” I get a few guest passes to offer for in-house attorneys. If you are not already registered and wish to attend, please shoot me a note accordingly.

I am thrilled to be moderating the May 14 panel, “Beyond Diversity: Creating Corporate Culture.” The panelists are Maria Green with Illinois Tool Works, David Rawlinson with Grainger and Martin Montes with Exelon.  Please read my InsideCounsel column previewing that discussion. More 

FMC Technologies, position filled

Congratulations to Philip Kief, who starts April 21 at FMC Technologies in Houston as Counsel.  After cutting his teeth in the energy practices at Akin Gump and Locke Lord, Phil made the move in-house with Aker Solutions, a global oilfield services company.

At FMC Technologies, Phil will handle a broad range of responsibilities as a commercial generalist.

We thank Jeff Carr and Mark Wolf at FMC Technologies for continuing to partner with our firm.

Cbeyond’s Bill Weber discusses his path from the Marines to the GC seat

Weber Headshot 2012-3 - Version 2

During his junior year of high school in 1982, Bill Weber had a bright academic future ahead of him. The Decatur, Ga., native planned to apply to three prestigious colleges, the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, but he had a problem: he had no idea how his family would be able to pay for any of them.

Then, during a trip with the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation late that school year, the course of his academic future and life would make a sharp turn. Traveling back toward Georgia, the group of students on the trip stopped off in Annapolis, Md., to visit the Naval Academy—the United States Navy’s service academy and, at the time, the most difficult school in the country to get into. Weber learned that, if he were among the fortunate few to get into the academy, his entire college tuition would be paid in full with his commitment of five years active duty post graduation. Facing exorbitant tuition bills from the other schools, Weber took a leap of faith, secured an appointment to Navy from Senator Sam Nunn and began his military career in summer 1983. More 

Essential tip for career advancement: seek critics

March image (MH)Even the most self-aware and self-motivated professionals get lulled into set behaviors and hit ceilings. Often, “self-improvement” really starts when someone criticizes or challenges us.

The word criticism has gotten a bad rap. There is a generational shift away from negative feedback of any kind and toward total cheerleading. When did we all get so soft? Receiving input that can help us improve is a gift that we should embrace. More