Bradley attorney Anne Marie Seibel was featured in a Q&A with Corporate Counsel Magazine as part of its Women, Influence and Power in Law 2019 special report, which honored Anne Marie for her commitment to advancing the empowerment of women in law.
Corporate Counsel: What was your route to the top?
Seibel: From my first days as a lawyer, I have worked on matters involving multiple puzzle pieces where my job was to understand how the pieces fit together. Sometimes the puzzle pieces would be complicated factual scenarios and other times the pieces would come in the form of multijurisdictional litigation. I enjoy the challenge of analyzing strategic options in these cases and playing forward the potential effects a single decision can have. I’ve had the privilege of deploying this skill set in a variety of legal matters, which has enabled me to stay interested and engaged in my legal career. I’ve also had the privilege of building my own team, recently serving as lead national counsel for a client where my all-female team successful tried the case to a defense verdict, which was upheld after oral argument on appeal.
What keeps you up at night?
As a partner in a firm, we are responsible for the livelihood of many families. Our decisions about the future of the firm are critical to the future of all of these individuals, as well. Similarly, the quality of our legal work ties to our future ability to serve clients, without which we cannot remain the source of support for our firm’s families. This requires us to stay in front of trends in the industry, create an inclusive and diverse culture to attract and retain the brightest lawyers, and to always provide the high-quality service that our clients need.
What is the best leadership advice you’ve given, or received, and why do you think it was effective?
Be appreciative of your team and spread news of their good work. Any professional success is the result of many, many contributors. But not everyone gets to be in the spotlight. It takes very little time to thank those at every level who supported the efforts. It is equally important to make sure those higher up in the organization know about the efforts of key team members. Nothing has made me prouder than to see younger lawyers who were once on my teams have teams of their own in which they lead by emulating the way I choose to shine a spotlight on team members.
Looking back, what do you wish you had known when you started out in the legal profession?
The old cliché, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” With the benefit of many years of perspective, I can see that each person’s path is unique and there is not one path that is better than another. It is easy in the legal profession to measure yourself against peers and against objective standards. But that is a trap that is easy to fall into and much harder to escape.
What is the most valuable career advice anyone has ever given you?
My dear mentor, Paula Hinton, told me not to think about “balancing” my career with any other obligations, but rather to “manage” my life. This was a critical shift in the way I had thought about the everyday challenges of addressing the many responsibilities I had. “Balancing” evokes an image of a tightrope walker, always one bobble away from a fall. But “managing” is something good lawyers do all the time. By understanding that there isn’t going to be an imaginary “balance” at all times, I’ve been able to celebrate professional and personal successes, alike, without viewing those successes as the result of sacrificing any balance. Instead, they are the result of my having managed the resources at hand to achieve my professional or personal goals.
The original article, “Women, Influence & Power in Law 2019: Anne Marie Seibel,” first appeared in Corporate Counsel Magazine on December 2, 2019.