Barbara Borden, Cooley Godward partner Tom Kurtz

Barbara Borden, the co-chair of Cooley’s global M&A practice, advised on acquisitions worth more than $7 billion last year while leading her group on more than 200 deals.

The No. 1 issue that keeps me and my clients up at night is …

I am usually kept up by specific deals that have thorny issues that need to be resolved. I think a lot of our clients are nagged by the need to sustain short-term results because of market expectations rather than managing for longer-term success.

Who’s the best leader you’ve seen in action and why?

The CEO of Cooley because he has a vision about how to drive the organization financially and culturally and he is focused on diversity and next-generation succession and long-term success.

After the events that have rocked Silicon Valley this year, are you more or less hopeful about the prospects for women in the tech industry?

I am more hopeful of the prospect of long-term improvements because of heightened awareness of the issues, but it may take years to see meaningful changes and there are likely to be setbacks along the way. A lot of gender bias is unconscious so awareness is important.

Do lawyers bear any special responsibility in addressing gender stereotyping and discrimination in tech?

No, but we can help to be part of the solution by advancing the role of women in law firms and in in-house legal departments.

If I could change one thing about working in tech, it would be …

I would make the culture more diverse in the broad sense of diversity.

What piece of advice do you have for young lawyers in tech?

Try to understand the client’s business and the context for your legal advice and work and try to give advice in succinct and practical terms that can be digested by nonlawyers

—Ross Todd