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They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Alexandra Wilde of Jones Day

July 28, 2022, 9:01 AM

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.
Jones Day advised Arsenal Capital Partners in the acquisition by its portfolio company, Seal For Life Industries, of the Canusa-CPS and Dhatec businesses from Shawcor. The acquisition enhanced Seal For Life’s product coating and sealing solutions capabilities and expanded the platform into broader global infrastructure and industrial markets and regions. My role involved counseling on cross-border and coating industry issues, leading negotiations, and supervising attorneys throughout Jones Day’s global offices. This required a deep understanding of the client and target businesses. We ultimately brought the deal to a successful signing.

The above representation led to additional work for the same client, including subsequent acquisitions for Seal For Life of Mascoat Ltd. and Verdia Inc., both privately owned specialty industrial coatings companies.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?
The most important lesson I learned my first year was the value of strong, thoughtful client service. Success as an attorney depends not only on your technical legal skills, but also on the strength of your internal and external client service skills. The ability to anticipate and appropriately react to client needs is critical. As a first year attorney, I learned the importance of responsiveness, proactiveness, attention to detail and stepping back to understand the broader purpose of a task. It was crucial to learn how to quickly integrate into and meaningfully support a deal team, so that we could more effectively accomplish the client’s goals. Oftentimes, this meant taking a large step back to evaluate how my role fit into the bigger picture and taking time to truly understand the client’s ultimate goal. It also meant not being afraid to invest in myself – for example, reading articles, speaking with senior attorneys and asking to participate in negotiations.

I like to think of the junior attorney lessons as the building blocks of our careers. These lessons taught me how to provide effective client service, not just as a first year attorney but over the years of my career.

How do you define success in your practice?
Success in my own practice is defined by the success of Jones Day’s clients and the strength of the ongoing client relationship. I want to help our clients successfully navigate sophisticated transactions. I also want clients to be pleased both with the end result and with the overall process. Achieving those goals comes from developing a trusted adviser relationship, and that relationship stems from confidence in your ability to advise, lead and manage transactions. A strong client relationship is often what helps foster the most successful results.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?
My greatest accomplishment as a lawyer is my elevation to partner on a somewhat nontraditional path. My first child was born prematurely during law school, which added many unexpected challenges to an already challenging law school environment. I graduated on time and started practicing law as a project attorney (versus the traditional associate route).

When I started my legal career, I had a toddler and a second child who was only a few months old. There were many late nights and early mornings fueled by sheer grit and perseverance. I wanted to show myself and my daughters that success is achievable no matter the starting point. It’s the in between that can truly set us apart. True professional and personal development often comes from the smallest successes and greatest failures. Elevation to partnership, while learning how to balance work/life demands in a way that made me feel fulfilled, is undoubtedly my proudest lawyer moment.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?
Jeff Schlegel, Jones Day’s Energy Global Practice Leader, is my greatest legal mentor. Jeff trained me to become a highly skilled, top tier deal attorney. He taught me—and continues to teach me—many skills that have been critical to my success. It is nearly impossible to summarize Jeff’s mentorship in only a few lines of text. Among many other lessons, though, Jeff taught me: (1) the importance of understanding the greater picture—know your client’s goals and how to efficiently help them reach those goals; (2) communication, communication, communication—an informed client is a happy client; and (3) mentorship matters—and the strongest mentorship impact often comes through living and visibly demonstrating the principles you want to teach.

Just for fun, tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.
“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. Always on my playlist.

“Brave (Remix)” by Freedom Fly. One of many go-to inspirational songs for my daughters.

Alexandra Wilde was selected as the Business Development Partner of Jones Day’s Houston office when she became partner. As an associate, she was the co-head of Jones Day’s Associate Committee for the Development of Clients, also in the firm’s Houston office. She also serves on the firm’s recruiting committee.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at lhelem@bloombergindustry.com; Kibkabe Araya in Washington at karaya@bloombergindustry.com