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The first general counsel of NAL Worldwide LLC has an office on wheels. Gwen Hassan, 39, who was named GC in January, says her laptop case doubles as a part-time workspace. The flexibility allows Hassan to spend half her week working from home, where she can look after her two children and stay available on her BlackBerry and laptop. “I dial in from my daughters’ school concerts, from the road, from wherever I am,” she says. NAL Worldwide, headquarted in Addison, Illinois, provides supply chain and inventory services to telecommunications, technology, medical, and retail companies. Formerly a subsidiary of SIRVA, Inc., NAL used to rely on its corporate parent’s law department. According to Hassan, the company viewed legal as “a corporate necessity that they avoided.” But as a stand-alone entity, with about 700 employees, that attitude had to change. Hassan says her challenge as the company’s first in-house lawyer is to be seen as a voice of reason and caution, not a naysayer. There’s a lot for that voice to comment upon. “Right now I’m really operating in a greenfield,” she says. NAL didn’t even have a document retention policy when she started. It’s a big change from her last job, as corporate counsel at Federal Signal Corporation, a manufacturing company founded in 1901. Although her new position has meant learning a new business, Hassan says the workload is manageable. On days she’s at the company’s offices, she can make it home in time for supper, put her kids to bed, and get on her laptop for a couple more hours of work. “I was looking for some work-life balance and a workplace that supported working smart, not working more,” Hassan says. Sounds like she’s found it.

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