Lynn Pieniazek was my closest friend throughout my childhood. I specifically remember the day she upgraded me from simply “friend” to “best friend forever”–or BFF as we called it back in the 1980s.
It was during lunch one sunny spring day when we were in the second grade.

My mom, as she often did, had slipped a surprise in my lunch–a pack of Big League Chew. My offer to share this newfound treasure with Lynn apparently made an impression on the popular 8-year-old. At the end of the day, when our parents were picking us up from school, she pulled me over to her mom’s car and announced with confidence, “This is Cate. She gets Big League Chew in her lunch. She’s my new best friend.” That was it. I was in!

Even at that young age, I knew my promotion wasn’t solely a result of my charisma and charm. But I didn’t mind. I was excited to have a new best friend. Throughout the years Lynn and I had our ups and downs, but we trusted and valued each other, and as a result, we developed a bond many of the other best friends didn’t seem to have. And when Lynn’s family moved 80 miles away in the middle of our sophomore year of high school, we were both devastated at the thought of not seeing each other every day.

In childhood, building relationships seems so much easier than it does once we reach adulthood. As we get older, additional factors–such as family responsibilities and career–make creating and maintaining relationships more difficult. And when it comes to professional relationships, particularly those between vendor and client, the task can be daunting.

In this month’s cover story, “The Rating Game,” InsideCounsel shares the results of its
19th Annual Survey of General Counsel. We take a deeper look into the relationship between in-house lawyers and their outside counsel, and how each side views that important partnership. The story also highlights the relationship one in-house lawyer at eBay has built with a new model firm in his effort to find creative solutions for attaining cost-efficiency in his department.

Whether it’s a relationship with a childhood friend or a new business partner, nurture is the crux of its success. As for Lynn, we may not speak every day, but a quarter of a century later she’s still an important part of my life.