Erin E. Harrison, InsideCounsel Editor-in-Chief
The status quo once dictated that 40 hours a week between the hours of nine and five were sufficient for gaining career success. However, for many of us, professional advancement and personal evolution now take up considerably more time. For general counsel-hopefuls, that time horizon becomes even more encompassing, requiring attention and preparation on a nearly constant basis. And for female aspiring GCs, that 24-hour vigilance must be conducted in tandem with the need to overcome gender stereotypes. With an investment like that, it’s important to honor those working so hard to reach the upper echelon of the legal department.
This issue, we present the 2nd annual R3-100, a list of 100 women who will be ready for the general counsel chair in a Fortune 500 company in the next three years. It’s an impressive collection of names comprised of an assemblage of GCs at smaller companies, deputy general counsel and assistant GCs at larger businesses and other high-ranking lawyers—and even a few other C-level execs sprinkled in. These women are experts in litigation, governance and securities, intellectual property, compliance, M&A, commercial transactions and more. In addition to the list (p. 17), we shine the spotlight on Nationwide Insurance and senior in-house counsel making it onto the R3-100.
The R3-100 program evolved from InsideCounsel’s Women, Influence and Power in Law (WIPL) network, which encompasses a series of women-focused initiatives, including the Transformative Leadership Awards, which honor those committed to advancing women and minorities in the legal profession; Project 5/165, which aims to promote placement of women as Fortune 500 GCs, with the goal of raising the percentage of women in the GC role to 30 percent within five years; and, of course, the WIPL conference itself, which will be held in September in Washington, D.C.
While many women named to this authoritative list may think that becoming GC is a distant 10- to 15-year goal, it could be a viable achievement in three years, according to executive recruiting experts. While there is a finite number of slots to be filled, women who listen for opportunities and lay the necessary groundwork are most likely to advance to the top.
If you’re interested in more news about aspiring female GCs in the legal profession, check out the Women, Influence & Power in Law (WIPL) network online at www.wiplnet.com, on Twitter at @wiplnetwork and in person at our event in September.
In addition to focusing on the R3-100, we also examine top-of-mind topics such as international privacy law, federal regulators, state attorneys general and the future of software patents. These topics, in addition to our report on up-and-coming female GCs, prove that the status quo is built on invariably shifting sands, and that no space is unaffected by time’s relentless march forward.