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Lisa Bodensteiner is executive vice president and general counsel at Calpine Corporation, a San Jose-based supplier of electrical power. She joined the company in 1996 as an associate counsel after working as an associate attorney at San Francisco’s Thelen Reid & Priest. Bodensteiner received her law degree in 1989 from Santa Clara University School of Law. She was interviewed by Mark Thompson, a Southern California journalist who contributes regularly to GC California. GC California: You are one of only eight female general counsels at California-based Fortune 500 companies. Do you feel like one of the boys when you’re with a larger group of GCs? Bodensteiner: Well, I was just at a dinner with other general counsel. But I don’t usually spend much time mingling with them. GC California: What’s your overall view about the current status of women in the legal profession? Bodensteiner: Having worked in law firms many years ago where the lawyers were mostly men, I think things are a lot better now. At my law school, I think it was pretty much a 50/50 split between men and women. Of course, that was just law school, and when you got up into the partner ranks it was not that way when I first started. But I never felt any different when it came to the work allocation from most of the partners I worked with when I first started out in practice. Also, when I joined Thelen, I reported to a female partner initially. So I have never felt any different from the men. GC California: Do you feel the same way in your current position? Bodensteiner: With the business clients that we deal with, again they’re mostly men. And again I don’t feel any different. We’ll joke about the fact that I don’t know anything about sports. But it doesn’t seem to be a barrier to getting the respect you need to get deals done or to obtaining the resources or the acknowledgement for the work that you do. GC California: Is it correct to assume that the energy business is dominated by men? Bodensteiner: Yes, it is definitely, definitely male dominated. GC California: Lawrence Summers, the president at Harvard, got into trouble with his comments on this subject. But let me ask you to take a crack at it. Are there innate differences that deter most women from entering the energy field? Bodensteiner: I don’t think women are deterred from entering the field. But it’s an old industry that I think will definitely change over time. There are a lot of women certainly in our company as well as in other companies, and they’re making great strides. But I think there was just a long period of time that stretches back many decades where it was really just men. So it’s just going to take a little bit longer, given that it’s an older industry. GC California: Do you have any difficulty finding qualified female candidates for jobs in your law department? Bodensteiner: It has not been difficult. We’ve done a lot of hiring. I was the second lawyer at the company, and we have about 40 now. I think that especially for in-house positions, you might have more female candidates than at a law firm. Some women might find in-house positions more attractive. GC California: Do you consider diversity as a factor when you are hiring outside counsel? Bodensteiner: Definitely. Our first screen, of course, is expertise in the subject matter. But when we’re starting a new relationship with a firm, we take a look at its diversity practices. Firms will sometimes say in their marketing materials that they have favorable policies on minorities and other kinds of diversity and I call them on it. How many of these people are partners, that sort of thing. GC California: In addition to more women on the legal side, where do you see changes occurring for women in the energy industry? Bodensteiner: Our industry is dominated on the business side of things by engineers. Again, you need to look back historically at the statistics of how many women were entering engineering training. It’s pretty low, even as of a few decades ago. But I definitely believe it will change over time. It’s an industry that has evolved a lot over the last 20 years. It used to be a boring, old, regulated utility. That’s definitely not the case 20 years later.

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