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Title: Vice President, Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary Location: Houston Age: 55 Diverse Pursuits Pauline Edwards Higgins knows what it means to take advantage of a chance. She left her native Jamaica after earning a scholarship to New York University in 1969. Since then she has earned a CPA, JD and LLM in taxation, and worked with some of the biggest banking firms and law firms in America. Now, at JPMorgan Chase & Co., she handles structured finance, corporate and corporate fiduciary law. “Her background in accounting really leads her to have a very structured approach to advising the client. She has a deeper understanding than a lot of attorneys do. That’s what her clients appreciate the most,” says Jeffrey Reitman, Chase’s chief compliance officer. Throughout Higgins’ career, she has also reached out to give others a chance at success. “Serving the community has been part of me since youth,” she says. Her charity work in the community includes help for the homeless, women, children with heart disease, public schools and the arts. More importantly for the future of the legal profession, she has mentored and found internships for more than 100 minority law students since 1997. “Some of them have really never been in a corporate environment,” she says. She and other members of the Houston Bar Association’s summer intern program find spots for minority law students who are not typically recruited by firms and corporations. Kristin R. Gibson, an associate with Thompson & Knight, was an intern with Higgins while at South Texas College of Law. She says Higgins is tough, which prepared her for dealing with the partners at her firm, but unconditionally loyal. “Not only was she great when I met her, she’s still helping me become a good lawyer,” Gibson says. Higgins believes it’s important to start fledgling lawyers off right, because she wants to see them later when she chooses law firms to represent JPMorgan Chase. The bank has been at the forefront of encouraging diversity, and Higgins reinforces that message with outside firms. “We want a diverse team when you represent us. We want to know by billable hours,” she says. To achieve that, Higgins and other colleagues established a quarterly reporting system for law firms. The report tracks how the firms staff JPMorgan Chase’s work with minority and women lawyers. Higgins says the numbers are often not as high as she would like, sometimes due to a lack of lawyers in a practice area or at a higher level. But she’s confident the firms are working to address that. The State Bar of Texas’ Women and the Law Section recently presented Higgins with the Sarah T. Hughes Women Lawyers of Achievement Award for 2005 for Higgins’ use of her influence to effect change. Asks Higgins, “If you don’t endeavor to make a change when you have the wherewithal to make it, however small it may be, then who and then when?”

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