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Wake Up Call: Most Law Firm Business Pros Are Women, Survey Shows

Sept. 30, 2021, 12:50 PM

In today’s column, law firms’ spending on marketing is back up this year but still much less than before the pandemic; compensation for legal chiefs at mid-market companies is up sharply this year; DLA Piper announced new leaders for its diversity and inclusion effort.

  • Leading off, women account for about 75% of law firm business professionals in such departments as administrative, talent management, and legal support. However, the gap with men narrows sharply when it comes to executive leadership posts, and men have a majority of jobs in technology departments, according to Calibrate Legal’s survey of eight large firms. (American Lawyer)
  • Law firms have dramatically increased their spending on marketing and business development in 2021’s first half, but they’re still spending far less than before the pandemic, a report says. (American Lawyer)
  • Compensation for in-house legal leaders with minimal support teams at companies with revenues up to $2 billion is up about 6.4% from last year to a mean of $225,000 in 2021, according to a report citing data from the Association of Corporate Counsel and a human resources consulting firm. (The Recorder)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • A Georgia county judge awarded over $1 million in fees to winning lawyers in a birth-injury medical malpractice suit that was decided two years ago. (Daily Report Online)
  • The Illinois Supreme Court suspended two former Big Law lawyers who were accused of inflating the hours they spent on cases. (ABA Journal) A Manhattan federal judge rejected a sanctions request made by the wife of a former Big Law partner who’s in prison for his part in one of the biggest criminal tax fraud cases in U.S. history. (Reuters)
  • DLA Piper named its director of professional development, Lenora Ausbon-Odom, to be its new chief talent development and inclusion officer. It said partner Edward “Smitty” Smith, who was recently appointed to lead the firm’s regulatory and government affairs practice, is adding national diversity and inclusion partner to his title. (
  • Big Japanese firm Nishimura & Asahi said it advised Honda Motor Co., Ltd. on its partnership deal with Google LLC to include in-vehicle connected services in Honda cars. (

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Manatt grabbed former Dentons U.S. antitrust chief Stephen Libowsky as an antitrust and litigation partner in Chicago; Saul Ewing brought in securities, governance and capital markets lawyer George Naya, a former in-house counsel for E*TRADE Financial Corporation and Morgan Stanley, as a partner in Washington; Neal Gerber Eisenberg said corporate and securities lawyer Elaine Taussig, a former partner at the firm, has returned as a partner in Chicago. Since leaving the firm in 2009, she’s been general counsel at health care software company higi SH and media holding company Wrapports LLC. (
  • Reed Smith recruited Cadwalader fund finance lawyer Steve Bleiberg as a partner in New York. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was earlier at Morrison & Foerster where he co-founded the blockchain/smart contracts task force; Kramer Levin recruited trademark lawyer Mathilde Carle as counsel in Paris to lead its intellectual property and information technology practice in the city. She arrives from Paris-based boutique Godin Associés, where she led the IP practice; K&L Gates added real estate finance lawyer Nicholle Allen-Steele as a partner in Raleigh, N.C. (
  • First Internet Bank hired its longtime outside counsel, Faegre Drinker partner Dustin DeNeal, to the role of first vice president and counsel; Medical device manufacturer and distributor Henry Schein promoted its senior vice president and general counsel Walter Siegel to chief legal officer, and deputy GC Kelly Murphy moved up to senior vice president and general counsel; outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI Co-Op promoted its general counsel and corporate secretary Wilma Wallace to chief diversity and social impact officer. An Orrick alum, Wallace earlier spent 22 years at Gap Inc., including as VP and deputy general counsel. (

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at