As senior litigation counsel at eBay, Alisa Hall manages a docket that includes everything from tax issues to privacy. Last year she became a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) so that she can serve as the litigation department’s liaison with the company’s privacy team on General Data Protection Regulation issues.
What’s the best piece of career advice anyone ever gave you?
Always raise your hand when an opportunity to step up or challenge yourself is presented.
Who is the most important mentor you’ve had thus far in your career? Why?
I have been extremely fortunate to have had many wonderful mentors in my career so far. The two that come to mind immediately are Jeff Sankey and Marie Huber.
Jeff Sankey, my first boss out of law school, was and continues to be an amazing mentor. He taught me all the things I didn’t learn in law school about the practice of law. His extremely pragmatic approach to the practice of law has certainly shaped my thinking and approach to legal problem-solving. Jeff really invested in me and provided me with opportunities to go to court on my own as a young litigator, which was the best way for me to develop my own skills and style as a litigator.
Marie Huber, eBay’s General Counsel, hired me to be her Chief of Staff and provided me with every opportunity to learn all the intricacies of being an in-house lawyer. She took a chance on me early in my career and set me up to succeed both in the role and long-term as an in-house lawyer. She taught me a lot about what it means to be a strategic partner to the business and how to lead a global legal department inside a large corporation. She understands the unique challenges that women face, and her support has allowed me to grow and develop tremendously at eBay.
What’s the best part of working in the tech sector?
Everything is constantly changing, which keeps things interesting. New innovation, new product offerings and the evolving competitive landscape all bring new legal challenges. In my experience, this also attracts interesting and intellectually curious people to work with, creating a great work environment.
What’s the biggest challenge?
There is often uncertainty about the future and what is coming next, making it difficult at times to anticipate and give advice that accounts for what is around the next corner.
What’s one way technology has made your life easier?
No question needs to remain unanswered—most anything can be researched and learned with an internet connection.
One way it’s made your life more difficult?
Being constantly connected makes it challenging to unplug and reflect.
Name an important opportunity you’ve had in your career and what you did with it?
I was offered the opportunity to be the chief of staff to the general counsel at eBay when I was first moving in-house. It was a big change from working at a law firm, and even though it involved a steep learning curve and took me out of my comfort zone, it was by far the best thing I have done in my career. I learned so much in a short time from our amazing general counsel, Marie Huber, and her entire leadership team. The role also gave me an opportunity to understand what was going on across the company at a high level and what things were strategically important to the business. And it provided me with a crash course in presenting complicated legal concepts to business leadership in practical terms. I enthusiastically embraced the challenge and focused on taking on and learning as much as I could, which was incredibly valuable.
What drew you to practicing law in the technology industry?
The chance to work on diverse and complex issues in an industry that is evolving, pushing the boundaries of existing law and forcing us constantly to re-examine and reshape the law to fit the challenges of new technology. While uncertainty about the law’s specific application to a unique problem can sometimes be difficult, it also leaves room for creativity, which I find energizing.
In 50 words or less, what’s the best way to address tech’s gender gap?
It’s not just about hiring women, it’s about creating an environment that supports and develops women, acknowledging the unique challenges they face as women, and focuses on retaining and promoting top female talent.
Describe yourself in one word.