DLA Piper MP: Women Develop Business Differently
DLA Piper US co-managing partner Stasia Kelly hasbeen on both sides of the equation (private practice andGC of four large companies).We caught up with her for today'sInternational Women's Day, and she sayswomen go aboutbusiness development differently.
When men build up their book of business--a key component of big law today--they can develop relationships or pick up dinner or a round of golf, and it's generally understood that the goal for the partner is business development. Females, Stasia says, sometimes feel that it's taking advantage of a friendship to ask for business. She's talked to many women who have trouble breaking through that barrier."I'm here to tell you there's nothing wrong with it."Stasia spent a 15-year stretch as GC ofFannie Mae,Sears, MCI/WorldCom, and AIG. (Before that, she was partner atWilmer, Cutler & Pickering.) This January, shetook on the US co-managing partner post at 4,200-lawyer DLA Piper withMichael Poulos.
Stasia with past Xerox CEOAnne Mulcahy at DLA Piper'sLeadership Alliance for Women summit last year--she's on its leadership committee. Parity for female lawyers is an issue "much more complicated than just the numbers." One step to getting there is placing more women on the business development track in a way that makes them meaningful contributors to the business. Work-life balance isn't always easy; Stasia worked through her twin boys' childhoods. She's now on the road around three days a week (the Palo Alto office recently, and Stanford Law, where she teaches; then Baltimore, NY, and Chicago).A happy coincidence: now her sons, bothinvestment bankers,work in the same building that houses DLA Piper's NY location. (And they still let her give them hugs in the lobby.)