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Off-Setting The Impact Of Decreasing Budgets With Creative Solutions

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 58 minutes
Recorded Date: October 26, 2020
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  • Rethinking Non-Lawyer Support
  • Keeping Productivity High and Support Team Morale
  • Addressing Outside Counsel Spending
  • Looking Ahead
  • Q & A
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: October 26, 2020


Whether your business is suffering revenue losses, unexpectedly booming, or just dealing with uncertainty of the current environment, in house counsel face unprecedented challenges in operating legal departments efficiently and within budget.

In this panel, we hear from women who have grappled with these questions every day as they share how they have adapted to meet these challenges in 2020 in a variety of areas of legal department operations.

This program was recorded as part of Corporate Counsel's Women, Influence, and Power in Law Virtual Conference held on October 26th, 2020.

Provided By

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Lakshmi Williams

General Counsel

Lakshmi Williams joined Transurban in 2012 and is General Counsel, North America. Ms. Williams is responsible for managing all of the legal work related to the company’s operating assets, as well all of the company’s development efforts, corporate financings and M&A. In addition to legal responsibilities, she manages the risk and compliance functions for the North American business as well as serving as corporate secretary for all North American entities.

Ms. Williams brings extensive experience to the role gained in a legal career that spans over 25 years working across technology, energy and transportation sectors, in both private practice and as in-house corporate counsel. Prior to joining Transurban, she worked as Deputy General Counsel at GridPoint, an energy tech company, as well as Deputy Corporate Counsel at MicroStrategy, a public software company. She has been named a “Top Corporate Counsel, Washington, D.C.” Prior to practicing in-house, Ms. Williams started her career as an associate at a few large Washington, D.C. law firms, including Hogan Lovells (formerly Hogan & Hartson).

Ms. Williams received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University.

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Sharon Rinehimer

General Counsel and Executive Vice President
RGF Environmental Group, Inc.

As Executive Vice President/General Counsel of RGF Environmental Group, Inc., a company that manufactures over 500 environmental products and has a 35+ year history of providing the world with the safest air, water, and food without the use of chemicals, Sharon B. Rinehimer’s responsibilities vary widely.

Sharon oversees all legal matters for the corporation and affiliates, manages outside employment and ligation counsel as well as patent and trademark counsel in Washington, D.C. and Beijing, China, manages all supply, distribution, and sales representative agreements, drafts internal policies, employee manuals, and other legal/quasi legal matters for the company, and negotiates leases and purchases of real estate, capital equipment, OEM’s, and business acquisitions, etc.

As a member of the Executive Management Team, Sharon oversees administrative and planning matters in addition to managing the International Business Division for RGF’s various divisions. After transferring to Florida Atlantic University (FAU) from Pennsylvania, Sharon attended and graduated from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) with a law degree. Sharon is a member of the Florida and New Jersey Bar Associations.

In her senior year of law school and after graduating, she interned/worked at Beyer, Lerner & Harris, P.A. a Corporate and Securities law firm in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Sharon was then in private (general) practice for several years before joining RGF in 1995. Sharon has reached many achievements over the past 25 years, including currently serving as Outside Counsel (Pro Bono) for the Junior League of Boca Raton Board of Directors as well as a Board Member and Vice President of the YWCA of Palm Beach County, Florida.

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Michelena Hallie

Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel
ViacomCBS Inc.

Michelena Hallie is Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel at ViacomCBS Inc. As such, she supervises intellectual property, content protection, privacy, legal operations and risk management for ViacomCBS’s businesses including Paramount Pictures, CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, Country Music Television, Nickelodeon, VH1, Showtime and Simon & Schuster.

Michelena joined Viacom in 1993 initially to manage its trademark portfolio. Since that time, she has held various positions within the corporate and division law departments.

Prior to joining Viacom, Michelena was a partner at Kay Collyer & Boose specializing in intellectual property litigation.

Michelena is a graduate of Brown University and New York University School of Law. She has lectured extensively on intellectual property and litigation issues

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Sharon Davis

Rothwell Figg

Sharon L. Davis has extensive experience in all aspects of intellectual property litigation in United States District Courts and before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Sharon’s patent litigation experience spans a wide range of technical fields including Internet technology, e-commerce, and pharmaceutical patents.

Sharon also has extensive experience in inter partes review practice. Sharon is a member of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia and the American Bar Association. Ms. Davis is ranked in the IAM Patent 1000 – the World’s Leading Patent Professionals for the DC Metro Area, listed as a Local Litigation Star for Intellectual Property in D.C. by Benchmark Litigation, and included in the Washington, DC Super Lawyers list.

Sharon was born in Huntsville, Alabama, and received a B.S. degree from Birmingham-Southern College, summa cum laude, in 1988. She received her J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School, with highest honors, in 1991. After law school, she clerked for Judge Patrick H. Higginbotham of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

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Emily Birdwhistell

Senior Litigation Counsel
NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Emily serves as Senior Litigation Counsel at NBCUniversal Media, LLC, where she counsels businesses across the company, such as the Filmed Entertainment Group, the television studios and networks, and Fandango, on a variety of litigation matters, including copyright, trademark, patent, idea submission, and general commercial litigation.

Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Emily was a litigation associate at Lathrop & Gage and Fox Rothschild. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her undergraduate degree from Vassar College.

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