Effective Strategies for Integrating Legal into Business Units

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 63 minutes
Recorded Date: October 17, 2019
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  • Legal as a Strategic Business Partner
  • Biggest Obstacles
  • How do you Measure Success?
  • Coordination
  • Outside Counsel
  • Legal Training & Advancement
  • Gender Equality
  • Use of Technology
Runtime: 1 hour and 3 minutes
Recorded: October 17, 2019


Many businesses’ in-house legal departments look a bit like a law firm with the entire department functioning in a centralized unit or location. However, as the role of legal becomes more than just contract review and trouble spotting is there value in integrating your department into specific areas of the business? Some companies believe so and are challenging their teams to weigh in strategically on specific projects. This session will review the pros and cons of a decentralized legal department.

This program was recorded as part of ALM & Corporate Counsel's 2019 Women, Influence, and Power in Law Conference on October 17th, 2019.

Provided By

Women, Influence & Power in Law Conference


Rhonda Powell

General Counsel

Rhonda Powell as its new General Counsel, a role in which she will oversee business and legal affairs for the global digital media company. Prior to Buzzfeed, Powell was Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs and Chief Legal Officer at Complex Media.

Wendy Gerard

Assistant General Counsel
ASGN Incorporated

Wendy Gerard is the Assistant General Counsel at ASGN.

Kathleen Vanderziel

Senior Vice President, Senior Counsel
Capital Group Companies

Kathleen Vanderziel is currently Senior Vice President, Senior Counsel for The Capital Group Companies, Inc., home of the American Funds family of mutual funds. She specializes in employment law and litigation management. She also works on a variety of other matters including privacy, intellectual property, contract review and review of marketing materials for compliance with FINRA and SEC regulations.

Prior to joining Capital Group, Ms. Vanderziel was Assistant General Counsel for Dole Food Company, Inc., where she was the sole employment lawyer for Dole and its various U.S. divisions as well as division general counsel for Dole Fresh Flowers, at the time one of the largest importers of fresh cut flowers in the United States.

Prior to Dole, Ms. Vanderziel was a labor and employment associate at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles, where she had extensive employment litigation experience, including jury trials in Los Angeles and Orange County Superior Courts.

Ms. Vanderziel graduated with distinction from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelor of arts degree in rhetoric and received her law degree, magna cum laude and Order of the Coif from Boston College Law School. After graduation, she clerked for Ruggero J. Aldisert, senior United States Circuit Court Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Ms. Vanderziel is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Children’s Institute Inc., a nonprofit organization working to transform the lives of children exposed to adversity and poverty in Los Angeles

Jennifer Schatzman

General Counsel, CIPP-US
Omnicom HealthGroup

Omnicom Health Group's General Counsel, Jennifer Schatzman, guides our agencies through the legal complexities of our business while focusing on our core values and strategic direction. Jennifer has more than 15 years of experience counseling advertising and marketing industry leaders, both as in-house counsel at Omnicom Health Group's corporate parent, and as outside counsel. Jennifer brings an approach to legal that goes beyond technical compliance, and partners closely with our agencies, leaders, and employees. Throughout her career, she has developed and conducted in-house trainings for employees on matters ranging from employment to restrictive covenants to contract negotiation and data privacy issues.

Jennifer is a member of the 4A's Legal Affairs Committee and the International Association of Privacy Professionals, and a graduate of Boston University School of Law and Penn State.

Susan Szafranski

Associate General Labor & Employment Counsel
Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG)

Susan Szafranski is the in-house benefits counsel at PSEG. Prior to joining PSEG in 2011, she was a partner at Day Pitney in the Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation Practice.

At PSEG, Susan provides counsel on all aspects of employee benefits, executive compensation and payroll. She collaborates with the employment/labor attorneys on benefit matters. She is counsel and secretary to the administrative and investment fiduciary committees. Recently, Susan has become involved with the accommodations review process.

The benefits arena is ever changing, especially now. To stay connected with other benefit attorneys on these issues, Susan is a member of the American Bar Association, Taxation Section, Employee Benefits Committee. For approximately 8 years, she has been the Chair of the Employee Benefits Group of the NJ Bar Tax Section. This group meets regularly to share their viewpoints and learn from the other members. She also belongs to the In-House Benefits Counsel Network.

Susan is the Secretary of the Board of Directors of La Quinta Aruba. The board has oversight for all matters of the resort. Specifically, she is involved with personnel matters, contracts and vendor management.

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