Lunch time session: Q & A with Laura Taylor

by Paul Maharg on 16/10/2010

Lunch time Laura Taylor, General Counsel, Chlorox.  Q & A session with David Wilkins. 

David began by asking her what students lacked when they started with her dept.  She replied:

  • Project Management
  • Leadership
  • International business experience.  
  • Flexibility

David — global dimension: you must have global competences today if you want to be a leader…  What are these, and what advice might we give to students re this?

Laura thought that Harvard's programmes were fantastic, re internationality of students, as well as issues, etc, and the availability of key persons in government and business.  Esp on her Harvard LLM.

David observed, and it was a good point, that LLM students really ought to integrate more with undergraduate students in their studies.  

DW wanted her to talk about ACC Added Value programme.  She was Chair of Corporate Counsel when the publicity about the 1K per hour lawyers hit the fan.  And the 160K dollar starting salary for newly-qualifieds first year associate.  Something needed to be done.  So the programme is in part about aligning cost with value where in-house lawyers can reconnect on how value is determined.  Eg the leverage model of law firms — check out the ACC website.  

LCLD — Leadership Council on Legal Diversity — the ability to made a difference on diversity is at the top partnership levels.  The figures are still dire.  She's involved in making that much better.  Eg work done on the US News & World Report & the LSAT figures.  Mentorship for ethnic diversity.  Supporting diverse students when in law school, eg a programme for students to go to a law firms when they're in 1L.  Working on measurements of success in organisational studies.  

DW observed she was devoting a lot of time to public service.  What cd law schools do to expand both public & private sides of the equation?

She pointed out that clinics expansion was great — they were just starting when she was at law school.  Public interest students tend to be fairly monolinear, but there's a need to get a greater pool of students interested in this.  

Questions from the audience.  Mitt Regan observed there was a pipeline problem with students in public service, but there was also one re financial literacy re the students who go into private firms.

One contributor observed that diversity also goes beyond  gender and colour and included disabled diversity.  Laura's work with the ACC covered that too.  

She was asked about unbundling of services and knowledge management.  LS agreed that it was improtant. In-house she segmented work, and used technology to help her get more efficient.  Good reply, but the examples weren't too convincing.  

One contributor observed there was a significant drop in the number of women entering law school, and women at the point where significant promotion was approaching.  LS didn't have answers for that — fair enough, though she agreed it was a disturbing trend.

Couple more questions along the same lines.  Very interesting glimpse into (some of) the activities of a high-profile GC, and she raised real issues to be thought about regarding content and above all method of legal educational courses.

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