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Several Jenner & Block women partners recently shared with the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin the professional and personal lessons that taught them how to provide exceptional service to corporate clients in transactional practices that were once dominated by male attorneys.
According to Partner Jill Sugar Factor, corporate clients expect the same level of service from their female as well as male attorneys. Clients just “want to know that you are on top of their deal and have a ‘take charge’ attitude when needed,” said Ms. Factor. They want an attorney “who knows how to get their work done successfully and efficiently in an appropriate manner,” she added.
Above all, corporate clients want an attorney’s opinion and analysis, and they want her to stand up for their interests during high-stakes negotiations, said Partner Teri A. Lindquist, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Corporate Finance Practice. In addition, she cautioned against falling "into the trap of seeming to defer to others" in such situations.
In addition to taking care of clients, women attorneys need to “take charge of [their] careers” and accept the fact that raising a family and building a thriving law practice requires continual hard work, said Partner Catherine L. Steege of the Firm’s Bankruptcy, Workout and Corporate Reorganization Practice. A mother of three and a member of the Firm’s Management Committee, Ms. Steege has gained a reputation as “a major player in the biggest transactional matters,” according to the article. She is currently leading the Firm’s representation of Arlington Hospitality, Inc., founder of the AmeriHost Inn brand, in its multimillion dollar Chapter 11 restructuring bankruptcy proceedings.
In fact, many women partners who are considered leaders or innovators in their transactional practices have come to Jenner & Block to further develop their business, added Partner Susan C. Levy, Chair of the Firm’s Women’s Forum.
For example, the article noted that Partner E. Lynn Grayson was a member of the Chicago-based legal team that helped launch the first Real Estate Investment Trust, a “watershed investment tool” that served as a model for all future REITs. Partly for this groundbreaking work, Ms. Grayson was later recruited to Jenner & Block to help develop the Firm’s growing transactional practice. Ms. Grayson joined the Firm because it promised “more opportunity and room to grow,” she told the Law Bulletin.