We attended the CLOC Global Institute conference in Las Vegas this week and had the chance to chat with many incredible women in legal ops. We asked them what advice they would give to other women in order to be successful on an in-house legal team.
We loved their answers.
8 ways to succeed as a woman in legal ops
1. Don’t take no for an answer
“Know what you want and keep going until you find what it is. Don't take no for an answer, just find a different way.”
— Denise Doyle, Managing Director of Legal Operations at modCounsel
2. Bring other women into the profession
“I'm a recruiter, and something that's important to me in my role is getting women into management positions. So, honestly, I think the best way for women to advance in our career is getting other women beside us on the journey.”
— Katie Plumer, Legal Ops People Team at Marble
3. Lift as you rise
“Don’t pull up the ladder behind you. Help other women.”
— Tracy Van Heer, Executive Director at Exigent
4. Participate in a mentorship or job shadowing program
“Johnson and Johnson is really big on mentorship and job shadowing. They even have a program where you can shadow another person—you can literally switch places with someone in Italy and go do their job for six months. Or it could be an internal business partner that you follow around for one week and go to her meetings.
I think it kind of broadens your mind on what’s out there, things that are interesting but that you didn't know were interesting until you actually saw someone else doing it. So I think mentorship, for me, has been the biggest support and catalyst to help me be great.”
— Toni Woods, Vendor Coordinator at Johnson & Johnson
5. Find your legal niche
“I was a product owner in IT, and my company needed a project manager over in legal ops, so I applied. There's lots of opportunity in legal. You just have to carve out where you want to spend your time and develop your niche.”
— Legal Operations Manager
6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
“Don’t have compunction about asking questions. Don’t have anxiety about what you know or what you don’t know.”
— Katherine White, Senior Manager of Legal Operations at Cloudflare
7. Celebrate the ways you think differently
“My team leader is a woman, and we happen to be all women on my team (we are looking for a man to join us). As a woman, you think in a slightly different way than a man thinks. I think we're more process-oriented sometimes, and we can read between the lines. As a woman, you have many good qualities that bring a lot to legal operations.”
— Christine Kollien, Legal Operations Administrator at Dexcom
8. Understand how technology fits into your organization
“Be curious about technology in general; educate yourself in project management. Figure out what technologies fit into your company and get some certifications in those systems.
If you're going into the corporate space, then I would definitely understand how your organization works and the relationships you need to build to get your product approved.”
— Tracyann Eggen, Legal Operations Exec at Now to Next
• Tips to my male colleagues on creating gender equity in your legal department by Jen White
• The progress of women in legal careers by Laleh Hassibi
• Corporate Counsel Spotlight: How I Got Here by Staci VanderPol
If you’d like to learn how Lexion’s technology can fit into your organization, book a demo at lexion.ai/request-demo.