X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Name and title: Nathalie Gilfoyle, general counsel Age: 55 The organization: The American Psychological Association is an educational and scientific organization founded in 1892 by William James, the philosopher and founder of American psychology. The organization constructed its imposing art deco-style headquarters in 1993 in Washington’s Capitol Hill district as part of a collaborative urban renewal effort with the city. When asked about its mission, Gilfoyle said: “The American Psychological Association advances psychology as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare through a broad range of activities. The APA has divisions devoted to science, education, practice and public interest psychology. We publish books on a wide range of topics of interest both to members of the profession and the public. The APA also publishes more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific journals, provides research databases and publishes a monthly psychology news magazine. We have a significant presence in government affairs both at the federal and state levels. The APA is recognized by the Department of Education as an accrediting agency for doctorate programs in psychology. We also promulgate and enforce the code of ethics for psychologists, which is adopted by many state regulators.” Membership: “Our more than 150,000 members work in a variety of settings,” said Gilfoyle. “There are practitioners or clinical psychologists as well as academics, who teach in an array of settings, and scientists, who are conducting psychological research. We also have a very active student membership component.” GC’s duties: Gilfoyle reports directly to APA’s chief executive officer, Norman Anderson. “I work closely with him and our chief operating officer and chief financial officer,” she said. “Collaborating on business and policy decisions as part of a management team is certainly one of the advantages of working in-house. “The legal issues I confront every day are diverse and almost without exception interesting. With an annual budget of $100 million and 600 employees, we are one of the larger associations, and we have a range of legal issues like any other company that size. At the same time, we are a nonprofit and there are many legal issues that are specific to the world of tax-exempt organizations. “And of course there are issues specific to psychology. Psychology and law approach many problems differently, but in lots of ways, they are complementary. It is fair to say that I have learned a great deal just from working with some very smart and interesting psychologists. “I’m a former litigator. While there are many aspects of litigation that I don’t miss at all, I do very much enjoy handling the APA’s amicus curiae briefs. The challenge is to translate psychological research into relevant information for courts in deciding cases involving public policy issues. Over the last year, we have filed briefs in the Supreme Court and federal appellate courts presenting scientific research on such topics as involuntary medication of criminal defendants, rights of gay and lesbian people, extension of the statute of limitations for prosecution of child sexual abuse, affirmative action and the juvenile death penalty. “So, as you can see, the job covers a lot of territory. On any given day, our office could be grappling with issues involving antitrust, administrative law, government contracts, employment, tax, real estate and so forth. It is a rich array of legal issues, and I find I look forward to coming to work every day.” Other projects: The APA works with the American Bar Association on several issues. Gilfoyle said, “We are collaborating to bring psychological learning into such legal areas as juvenile justice, child custody, policy discussions regarding the death penalty for mentally ill criminals and development of resource materials for lawyers and judges working with older adults.” She also serves on the board of governors of the District of Columbia Bar. The legal team: “We have five other professionals in the department,” said Gilfoyle, “three lawyers and two nonattorney professionals. Our deputy GC is both a lawyer and a psychologist. We have created a very collegial and flexible practice environment that is responsive to our broad range of client issues and fully utilizes the skills of everyone-lawyers and nonlawyers alike. We are structured more along the lines of a small law firm. Recently, as a group, we have undertaken a project through the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Office to provide assistance in the Family Court.” The APA uses a number of firms for its wide range of legal issues. They include Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Chicago’s Jenner & Block; Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe; Chicago’s Seyfarth Shaw; Shaw Pittman and Steptoe & Johnson, both of Washington; San Francisco’s Morrison & Foerster; and McDermott, Will & Emery. Washington’s Arent Fox represents the APA on real estate financings. For intellectual property issues, it uses Oblon Spivak McClelland Maier & Neustadt and Dunner Law, among others. Route to the top: Gilfoyle received her undergraduate degree from Hollins College in 1971 and her law degree from the University of Virginia in 1974. She started her legal career in Boston with Legal Aid, then moved to Washington to work at Peabody, Lambert & Meyers, a small firm. Gilfoyle then became a litigator at McDermott, Will & Emery, mostly in cases against the government. But she has always been very interested in psychology. “When I was in law school at the University of Virginia,” she noted, “I had the good fortune to work as a research assistant to a law professor, Richard Bonnie, who was the director of the UVA’s Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy. The book I worked on for him, The Marihuana Conviction, can still be found on Amazon.com. I later developed a niche in using psychological experts in civil litigation. This job came up eight years ago, and here I am.” Personal: Gilfoyle’s husband is Christopher Ma, a publishing executive at the Washington Post. She is also a gardener and a cook. “With both of our children away at college, my husband and I have started taking Spanish lessons,” she said. Last books and movie: “The 9/11 Commission Report is a page-turner,” said Gilfoyle. “I highly recommend it. I also just read for the third time Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. It is timely, too, in its own way.” Her most recent movie is Sideways.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.