Courageous Counsel: Conversations With Women General Counsel In The Fortune 500
Leverage Media

Courageous Counsel: Conversations With Women General Counsel In The Fortune 500

  • Publish Date: 2011-06-29
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Michele Coleman Mayes;Kara Sophia Baysinger

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This book is the first full account of the rise and growing clout of women general counsel at Fortune 500 companies. Through in-depth interviews, Courageous Counsel weaves together up-close-and-personal interviews with more than 50 women who have served as GCs at America's largest corporations or have played executive management roles in their legal departments. Written by Dentons partner Kara Baysinger and Michele Coleman Mayes, general counsel at Allstate Insurance Co, the book recounts the risks, opportunities and lessons learned that characterize the career paths of remarkable women who have made it to the top legal post at Fortune 500 companies in recent years. In 1979, one woman stood alone as general counsel of a Fortune 500 business-Mary Ann Hynes of tax and business IT firm CCH. Today there are more than 100, serving all major industry sectors. Additionally, Baysinger and Mayes interviewed a handful of leading women legal recruiters who regularly work with large companies seeking in-house counsel. Their perspective fills out the portrait of women who serve as chief legal officer, many of whom are increasingly viewed as viable candidates for CEO jobs. Since 1999 the number of women reaching general counsel status at Fortune 500 companies has doubled, the authors note, and women and men now enter law school and the legal profession in roughly equal numbers. Yet despite their evident parity, the proportion of women GCs only recently reached 20 percent, about the same percentage of women partners at law firms. Courageous Counsel divides female GCs into three eras-the pioneers who opened the earliest doors, from 1979 to about 1996; the momentum-gaining wave that saw the turn of the 21st century; and the post-Sarbanes-Oxley epoch, still occurring, which has seen the role of general counsel at public companies become infinitely more complex.

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