Sherry Williams | Senior Legal Executive

Working with Recruiters | Insights & Myths | Leadership Lessons | Legal Industry African American Heroes | Race & 2020 | Managing Chaos 


I interviewed Sherry Williams | Senior Legal Executive and Former VP, Deputy General Counsel, Global Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer at Jabil on Friday, June 12th, 2020.

We began the episode with Sherry providing insights into her experiences as a legal executive with recruiters including misconceptions candidates have of recruiters. We then discussed leadership. She shared who were the examples and heroes who modeled leadership in her life. Sherry also shared insights about her journey to leadership positions in corporate legal departments. We then discussed her advice for those attorneys wanting to go in-house. She shared how the discussion around diversity and inclusion needs to translate to action in the legal field. We discussed how George Floyd’s murder has affected her. Our final topic of discussion was her way of managing the chaos of being a mother and a professional.

Here are some highlights of my interview with Sherry Williams:

The best recruiters balance their role with their client and how they advocate for candidates in front of the client.

What has set [a recruitment firm] apart is they gave me very crisp, concise, and constructive feedback in instances where I might have misstepped.

I get really excited when members of my team can be pushed to the limit and pushed to learn new things and to do new things. To see them step out in faith and try things that make them better lawyers is rewarding.

There is something to be said for shameless self-promotion so that your leaders understand the difference that you’re making.

Being in-house is not easier than being at a law firm. You work just as hard. In some instances, you work harder, but you work differently.

Let your network know that you are looking to move in-house and that is probably going to be the fastest way to get your name on the radar of a company, a hiring manager, or recruiter if people actually know that’s an interest of yours.

Firms send out wonderful marketing materials that talk about how they believe in diversity and inclusion. But if we look at the number of diverse partners and female partners in these firms, the numbers really have not moved.

We’ve got to have the conversation [on race, diversity, and inclusion] and turn those conversations into concrete actions that change the circumstances of people in these situations.

Stop using the term work-life balance, there’s no such thing. Instead, come up with a plan to manage the chaos, because there is always going to be chaos.

Links referred to in this episode:

Sherry Williams | LinkedIn Profile

Stuart Singer | Partner | Boies Schiller Flexner

Gregg Breitbart | Office Managing Partner | Kaufman Dolowich Voluck 

Albert “Bert” Cornelison | Retired General Counsel | Halliburton

Thurgood Marshall | First African American Supreme Court Justice

Barbara Jordan | U.S. Congressional Representative from Texas

Ruth Bader Ginsburg | Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Charissie Lillie | CEO | CRL Consulting 

Benjamin Wilson | Chairman | Beveridge & Diamond

Joseph West | Partner & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer | Duane Morris

Kim Rucker | Member of Board of Directors | Celanese

Janet Langford Carrig | Previous SVP, General Counsel, & Corporate Secretary | ConocoPhillips

Don Prophete | A Black Partner Responds to GCs on Law Firm Diversity

Ben Wilson & Scott Bolden | ‘This Has to Be a Seminal Moment’: Black Law Firm Leaders on Inequity, Ire and What Comes Next

Ben Wilson | ‘A Leader Must Be Fearless’

Joseph West | Talking ‘The Talk’: Words Seem Futile When Videos Speak for Themselves

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Audio Transcription 

***To Download the PDF Transcript, click here*** 

Greetings, friends. This is Chris Batz, your host of The Law Firm Leadership Podcast. In today’s episode, I had a fun stimulating conversation with a senior legal executive on her experience with legal recruiters, and also her advice as you consider your next opportunity. Also, we spoke about what leaders inspired her, advice for minority attorneys, and her reflection on the matter of race in our country. 

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to this podcast and leave a review on iTunes.      

As many of you know, we interview corporate defense, law firm leaders, partners, general counsel, and legal consultants. You are listening to episode forty-five of The Law Firm Leadership Podcast. 

Chris:  Welcome to The Law Firm Leadership Podcast. I’m your host Chris Batz with The Lion Group. 

Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Sherry Williams, a senior legal executive. Sherry is a 20-year legal veteran and senior corporate legal executive. In her most recent role, she served as VP, Deputy General Counsel, Global Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for Jabil. She also served as a Compliance Consultant and was formerly the SVP, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for Halliburton, where she led the company’s global ethics and compliance function. She also practiced complex commercial litigation, employment law, and class action defense for seven years at K&L Gates, an AmLaw 100 firm. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. 

Welcome, Sherry, to The Law Firm Leadership Podcast. It’s great to have you on the show.

Sherry: Hi, Chris. It’s great to be here. I sincerely appreciate the invitation and I very much look forward to our conversation.

An Effective Recruiting Experience

Chris: Throughout your career, you’ve spoken with and worked with different recruiters. Would you describe to us your impressions of the recruiting process?

Sherry: The recruiting process varies depending on what level you are in your career. When you get to C-suite level recruiting, which is the recruiting that I’ve been privy to, there are some organizations that do a really good job of attempting to match the right candidate with the right position and right cultural fit. What I found is when I’ve worked with recruiters that take that approach, it tends to be a really positive experience whether or not you’re ultimately chosen for the job, because you feel like you had a legitimate shot at the job. There have been other instances where I felt that recruiters are going out and rounding up anybody that has the right title or even marginally the right experience, but they’re not really digging deeper to see if that opportunity would be a fit for the particular candidates they’re reaching out to.

Chris: Yes, unfortunately, some recruiters submit candidates simply to achieve an internal or external performance goal, which does not serve anyone. Would you share what myths attorneys bring to the recruiting process?

2 Myths About Recruiters

Sherry: I think that a lot of times attorneys will have some idea that the recruiter is 100% an advocate for the candidate. That’s a myth because recruiters are in a tough position, especially if it is a retained search, which means that they’re really working for the company who is looking to place someone in a key position. The best recruiters balance out their role as an advocate for their client who’s retained them, versus how they advocate for candidates in front of that client. There are some organizations that do that balance very well, but others that do not. So, if someone is new to the recruiting process, especially at a C-suite level, one of the myths is that this recruiter is really advocating for me. Sometimes they can do that, but that’s not really their job. If you’re new to the recruiting process, you really want to understand your recruiter’s role in advocating for you, especially if it’s a role that you really want, and you are well suited for.

Chris: I 100% agree, Sherry, we do all that we can to empathize and explain to our candidates, the limits of our advocacy and the tension. We want to serve the clients well.

Sherry: Exactly. Part of it is understanding how to communicate and stay in touch with recruiters in the right way. In my experience, there have been instances where I’ve been uncomfortable reaching out to a recruiter, to say, “Hey, I’m in the market. Do you have anything for me?” There is this sense that you should sit around and wait for them to call you and there is a fine balance in that. Some of the best recruiters out there actually stay in touch with me and will reach out a couple of times a year. They may send an article about leadership, and this gives me an opportunity and a path to then reach out to them if something has changed in my career, and I might be looking for a new opportunity. 

The other myth is that people think recruiters are just sitting on thousands and thousands of open jobs that are good for everybody. Where in fact, depending on where you are in the hierarchy, especially in legal, they really may not have thousands of searches going on at your level. Many large organizations will try to recruit internally via LinkedIn and their online job posting systems before doing a retained search. The way in which recruiters are retained has also changed a bit.

Utilizing a Recruiter & Your Network  

Chris: What advice would you give an attorney who is thinking of approaching and utilizing a recruiter?

Sherry: First, check your own personal brand. In my experience, I have had colleagues and peers provide my name to recruiters in advance of me being called for a position and at a time in my career where I did not have those independent recruiting relationships. The very first thing would be to ensure that you have a good brand and that your peers and colleagues think well of you and know what you’re thinking. 

Secondarily, recruiters are very often having to evaluate the entire package, not just your skills for the job, but your leadership skills, your personality, and your ability to fit into a variety of cultures. Candidates need to understand there rarely is an “off the record” with a recruiter. And so, whereas you want to have a sincere and authentic relationship, you also have to have some balance and carefulness in how you interact with that recruiter.

Chris: So, what I hear you saying is that candidates should try to be prepared when talking with recruiters knowing who they are and what they bring to the table. And they should be prepared to discuss what they really want with the recruiter.

Sherry: I have had very good conversations with recruiters about what I want, where they have reached out and are exploring something with me that I’m not interested in. Two things about that are important. First, you really should give the information to them of someone who may want that position. If you can refer a name, that is always really positive. The second thing is if you don’t want the position that they’re calling you about, turn that conversation in such a way where you can, in fact, talk to them about what you’re looking for. I think that’s positive. They very often agree with that and appreciate it.

Chris: Sherry, let’s talk for a moment about the different ways legal recruiters have been a resource to you as a legal executive.

Sherry: I have been very fortunate to have very good experiences with recruiters that were very transparent about what the benefits package looks like. Especially if you’re a C-suite executive, and there are particular things that you want to have available to you, say relocation or other types of benefits, that’s a time to be really honest with your recruiter to find out what is on the table. I’ve found people have been very helpful to me about total compensation discussions. If the salary is not quite what you want, what are other ways that can be made up with the full benefits package. If you have a good relationship with your recruiter, you can talk very honestly, about the things that you want, and the good ones will help you as well. Try to achieve that goal within reason, based upon their dual position representing both their client and advocating for you.

Chris: I agree that recruiters can be advocates for candidates within reason and also serve their clients. Have you found recruiters to be insightful for market intelligence or your market value?

Sherry: I have, but not so much in the midst of an actual search. This goes back to the discussion that we had a little bit earlier around what happens when you’re trying to keep in touch, right. So, there have been instances in my career where I have had conversations with recruiters and said, “I may not be prepared to move right now, but I’m thinking about what my next steps are. What do you see in the market?” In some instances, I received some very helpful feedback in that regard. People who are very good at their jobs, especially some of the larger recruiting organizations, tend to have a really nice pulse, both nationally within the US but also internationally.

Noteworthy Recruiters

Chris: Sherry, you have mentioned to me one particular recruiter that stood out to you. Would you describe some of the qualities of this recruiter that you felt separated this person from the rest of the pack?

Sherry: First and foremost, it’s an organization that spent a lot of time getting to know me and my qualifications. And so the vetting process was actually fairly detailed. I think that the first time we probably had a two and a half-hour meeting with lots of conversation, lots of notes being taken, and lots of questions being asked. Questions not only about my qualifications but what I wanted to do in the future. And that was with a particular senior-level person several, several years ago. Since that time, I’ve worked with that firm in their Houston, Texas office, their New Jersey office, and their Washington, DC office. I have gotten consistent service across the board, in terms of people saying we’ll keep you in mind and these are the kinds of roles we think you’d be good for. Do you have different ideas? We don’t want to put you in a box. We want to make sure that we are aligned with the kind of things that you want to do. I’ve always gotten the feeling that there are conversations happening around the people who work with me that they’re talking to each other. It’s not a cold call. When I talk to someone new, they will say, “Well, I’ve spoken to this person in the New York office about you or this person in the Houston office about you. And we’re big fans of yours.” And I appreciate them, not just for the nice things that they said. 

This firm helped me when as a candidate, I interviewed and felt I didn’t quite hit it out of the park. What has set this firm apart is they have given me very crisp, concise, and constructive feedback in instances where I might have misstepped. Those missteps have never precluded me from being considered for other searches, and they tend to follow up if I am no longer in consideration. It’s not a black hole, but they call me and say, “Hey, the clients decided to do X, Y.” Or if I’m moving to the next level, they will say, “Hey, we’re moving you forward. And here are some tips we think you should have as you go and talk to this next set of representatives of the company.” I found that to be immensely helpful and it’s not something many recruiting organizations will do. 

Chris: Did you find that those were qualities consistent in the organization or unique to the individual?

Sherry: It has been my consistent experience across the organization.

The Black Hole of Recruitment

Chris: You mentioned the possibility of being stuck in a black hole or, basically, a lack of communication with the recruiter. Would you say that this is the greatest area of improvement for recruiters?

Sherry: Yes, it is and partially because you get notified that someone is considering you whether they email you, call you, or talk to you on LinkedIn. Then, what I always say to candidates if they’re asking me, even if it’s a preliminary call with the recruiter,  take the time to prepare. Learn about that recruiting organization and the person you’re talking to. If they have disclosed the identity of the company, at least take the time to learn something preliminary about the company, so that that first conversation is meaningful. After the initial conversation, there’s a high probability that they’re not going to put in front of the client everyone they had the preliminary conversations with. But for the recruiter to take the time to say, “We had a lot of candidates and though we thought you were very good, some of them are more in the sweet spot of what this client is looking for. We really appreciate your time.” That would go a long way, but very often that just doesn’t happen and you never hear from them again.

Chris: So, if I heard you correctly, there hasn’t been a consistent level of communication to bring closure to the process?

Sherry: I think that’s a great way to put it.

Chris: Any final comments about recruiting before we transition to another topic?

Sherry: Yes, people need to recognize that to some extent, the job search process has changed. Recruiters are still a fantastic way to get opportunities, but there are also other ways that one can look for a job if they’re in the market. Don’t pass up on making sure your LinkedIn brand is very good. Don’t pass on ensuring that you’re going to various job sites, whether it’s, or other sites like that, to ensure that you’re really understanding what is out there. Your dream job may not be coming through a recruiter in 2020.

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Put Your Team First

Chris: Sherry, how do you define leadership?

Sherry: I define leadership as putting the team first.  Ensure that your modus operandi as the leader is focused on taking an interest in people, ensuring fairness, giving respect, and treating people with dignity and respect, and really a great deal of honesty associated with managing people and helping them to manage their careers.

Chris: So when you say honesty, are you meaning meaningful feedback and transparency?

Sherry: Yes, which very often is not provided at all, or if it is, it’s not provided in a timely manner. It’s also being honest about expectations in an upfront way. I don’t think it helps employees when you get honest feedback at your review or at your end-of-year-review when it’s something that you could have been told that would have improved your productivity or improved team morale. It could have been a 5-10 minute conversation six months earlier. And so I think the give and take around expectations, and real-time constructive conversation is very important when you’re a leader. 

Leadership Lessons 

Chris: Sherry, who have been examples of leadership for you? 

Sherry: My first real example of leadership was at K&L Gates, which at the time was known as Kirkpatrick and Lockhart. I had the privilege of working for a partner named Stuart Singer. As a young associate, I actually made a huge mistake. Rather than deciding he was never going to work with me again or putting me on the outskirts,  he had a very, very honest conversation with me about how I had disappointed him, because he expected more and he knew I could do more. The next time he gave me an opportunity, you can bet I did everything in my power to hit it out of the ballpark. Another person at that firm, again, very young in my career was a gentleman named Gregg Breitbart. Gregg would call me in his office at the end of the day and say, “These are the things that went on. Let’s talk about how those went.” It was always done in a very fair and transparent way. I give credit to both of those men for helping me build my confidence around working hard and walking through fear when you feel as if you don’t know something. 

When I went in-house, the former General Counsel at Halliburton was a gentleman by the name of Bert Cornelison, and he was probably the best leader I’ve ever had. His leadership style is exemplified by a very short story. We were out with his leadership team and some outside counsel who were trying to get business from the company. One of those partners asked him, “Well, what keeps you up at night?” And he kind of chuckled and he said, “Nothing keeps me up at night that doesn’t have to do with my children. You need to ask these other people at the table what keeps them up at night. That’s why I hire the best.” It was just a real example for me from him about how you surround yourself with great people and you let them do their jobs.

Legal Industry African American Heroes

Chris: Along the same lines, who have been your heroes?

Sherry: From a historical perspective, I have to go with people who I think really changed the law for diverse people generally, and for African Americans, specifically. That would be the Thurgood Marshalls, the Barbara Jordans, and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the world. In my personal life, there are some people that have really helped me in my career. I would first identify Judge Maryellen Hicks in Fort Worth Texas as a hero because she got me my very first legal job. I would have to call out Sharif Lilly, who is the former head of litigation at Ballard Spahr, and was the head of the Comcast Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who has been my mentor since I was a third-year lawyer. Another would be Ben Wilson of Beveridge and Diamond who is the black godfather of almost every African American lawyer I know in the United States. I would also call out Joseph West who was CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and is now a partner at Duane Morris because he really brought this diversity and inclusion conversation to the forefront in a very different way in addition to being a great trial lawyer. Kim Rucker and Janet Carrig are two female GCs, formerly of Kraft and Conoco, who helped me understand women’s leadership and how it differs from men’s leadership. I’ll stop there, but those are the people that I think about who helped shape me as a lawyer and a leader.

The Art of Shameless Self-Promotion

Chris: Sherry, let’s talk about your days at Halliburton. I know that you had the tremendous opportunity to step into the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer role as an SVP. Please share that story and what others can learn from this experience.

Sherry: It happened through first and foremost, no actual action of my own other than really trying to be a good employee. That goes back to my relationship with then General Counsel, Bert Cornelison. I came into that organization out of a law firm, and I was candidly just happy to no longer be doing billable hours. There were lots of smart lawyers in the department. I just really, really focused on doing my job and came to his attention and he leaned forward and invested time in me. He invested in helping me learn things that I did not know. And he promoted me to be the Corporate Secretary of the organization, so I was able to be in front of other senior leaders and the board. I held that job for three years, and when one of my colleagues who was an amazing lawyer and a long term Halliburton employee opted to give up the Chief Compliance Officer role, the GC came in and said, “We want you to take on another challenge with this organization.” I remember wanting to think about it because at that time, I was a new mom with a toddler, and I’m a single mother. So I was like, “Oh, my God, what does this new and bigger role mean?” I did it because I had a great deal of respect for him. There were few things he could have asked me to do that I wasn’t willing to take on. So I said yes. Six months into the job, I walked into his office and I’m kind of laughing but also crying. I said, “I thought you lied to me.” I thought, “Why did you give me this job?” It helped run a great organization, and it was a wonderful learning experience for me. If I had to pull a lesson out for people listening, I would say that you have to figure out how to build relationships, how to put your best foot forward, and how to humblebrag. There is something to be said for shameless self-promotion so that your leaders understand the difference that you’re making. A lot of in-house departments are very flat organizations, so there isn’t always an opportunity to move up. But there is always an opportunity to learn.

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Considering In-House? Know Your Why.

Chris: What advice would you give attorneys who are in private practice that want to go in-house?

Sherry: The first thing I would say is that being in-house is not easier than being at a law firm. You work just as hard. In some instances, you work harder, but you work differently. People who want to go in-house because they see it as some type of legal nirvana don’t actually understand how hard in-house legal work can be. But setting that aside, I would say really know why you want to do it. Because a lot of times you’re going to take a pay cut to do it. You’re going to have a lot of work. Most organizations require a certain amount of travel that you don’t have the ability to hand off to anyone else. Know why you want to do it. And if you decide it is for you, then you really have to focus on what kind of work, what industry, what parts of the country you want to live in. It’s different from working at these huge international law firms where you can transfer the office within your own organization. If you decide for whatever reason, you don’t want to be at a certain location, you are generally going to have to leave the organization to make a change. Look at postings for that industry and network with people in that industry because many in-house jobs are found through a personal connection. Let your network know that you are looking to move in-house and that is probably going to be the fastest way to get your name on the radar of a company, a hiring manager, or recruiter if people actually know that’s an interest of yours.

Chris: I think you have probably done the best job explaining that than anyone else I’ve spoken with.

Sherry: Well, I appreciate that. Chris, thank you.

Real Conversations & Real Change 

Chris: What advice would you give diverse attorneys who are in the middle of what we’re being faced within our nation, and the bill coming due with, unfortunately, the race riots, the protests, the death of George Floyd and others?

Sherry: It’s a really, really difficult situation, in the sense that on one hand, it’s very black and white, right? When I say black and white, I mean color, but there are no shades of grey in terms of what happened and the fact that it should not have happened. The fact that it’s opened up this broader conversation is really about a boiling pot that has been boiling for 25 years, particularly within law firms and law departments that have been having this conversation about diversity and inclusion. For many organizations, it’s really been performative. They send out these wonderful marketing materials and it talks about how they believe in diversity and inclusion. But if we look at the number of diverse partners and female partners in these firms, the numbers really have not moved. What I hope comes from this and what I hope benefits diverse lawyers is that we start having real conversations and we start moving to real policies that change how law firms, the law, and legal departments actually function. I’ve been really pleased with the number of high-profile skilled lawyers that have spoken out on this. Don Prophete of Constangy just had a wonderful article on where he was very clear about these issues. Scott Bolden, who is a former managing partner of the DC Office of Reed Smith, and Ben Wilson, the chairman emeritus of Beveridge and Diamond, were interviewed for other publications. They were very clear about this. Joe West wrote a highly emotional and thoughtful piece, also published on about these issues. It’s time for us to really, really do something, as opposed to talking about doing something. For lawyers that are in environments where they can affect these changes, I would encourage us all to really be bold and to step out a little bit more with regard to our thoughts on these issues, and suggestions about how to move forward in a way that is meaningful. That’s tougher. And it’s especially tougher for younger lawyers. The higher up the chain you are, the more credibility you’ve retained in your organization, and hopefully it’s easier to speak out. But, now is the time and we’re at a really important inflection point. So, I would encourage diverse lawyers, but also non-diverse allies to really seize this moment. There are some non-diverse allies, like some of the people that I’ve named, that have been instrumental in my career have been white men. So, they’re not the enemy, but they are very often uncomfortable with these conversations. We’ve got to have the conversation and turn those conversations into concrete actions that change the circumstances of people in these situations.

A Coalition Across Racial Lines 

Chris: Sherry, how have you been affected by the murder of George Floyd and the Minneapolis protests?

Sherry: It’s a bit of a loaded question in the sense that I had a real hard time over the last two weeks. It’s been a hard time because it’s just so exhausting. And it is painful. It is personally painful to see so many people deny that this is a problem and attempt to excuse this behavior. I have lots of nieces and lots of nephews. I have personally been followed in stores. I have personally been afraid in instances I have been pulled over by the police. And I’m a woman. I can’t imagine the fear that black men live with because it’s what I feel times some infinite exponential. So, to see this play out in the streets has been really painful. I am so proud of these young people and these protesters. I am so proud of them speaking up, and candidly, I’m really, really excited about the number of different people with different religions, races, and ethnic backgrounds who have also taken to the streets. As hurtful as this is to admit, the presence of white people in the protests, gives the protests more legitimacy in the eyes of some than they would have if it were all people who looked like me. So, I think that coalition across racial lines has really caused people who otherwise would not think differently about these things to think differently. I was in tears having to explain this to my 10-year-old and in further convulsing tears when she had to explain it to some of her friends from school, none of whom are diverse. As a parent, it just breaks your heart to have your 10-year-old have to explain murder. It’s just really difficult.

Chris: Sherry, thank you. Really thank you for your vulnerability. It’s a gift, and I’m just grateful for you feeling safe enough to share.

Sherry: Well, I appreciate the sincere question.

Manage the Chaos

Chris: Sherry, transitioning, you shared with me that you’re a single mom of a 10-year-old daughter. Let’s talk about the challenge and the joy of managing family, extended family, and being an executive. What are some takeaways for my listeners?

Sherry: It’s so interesting. I tell people about my journey to motherhood, that I started late and ended early because I had my daughter at 40. Women who are of childbearing age will know this term when you go see the doctor, and they talk about you being of advanced maternal age. It was just this really different experience of having achieved a lot in my career and then having this little person who depended on me. It’s been the greatest joy of my life to be a mom by far. But it’s also the hardest job I’ve ever had. I spent about two years as a stay at home mother. I was like, “Oh, Lord, I’ve got to go back to work.” It was incredibly difficult. And women who make that choice for an extended period, my hats are off to them because people somehow have the impression that they’re sitting around working out and eating bonbons. That is not the case. What I learned is that you really have to be very comfortable with your particular parenting style. 

I traveled a lot when my daughter was small. And in order to make her comfortable at the time, (there was no Zoom or FaceTime, it was Skype) I got her a Skype account, and I would Skype her from all over the world. I would show her my hotel room and where I was sleeping, so she has some sense of connectedness. I would pull out a globe and show her where I was going and tell her how long it was going to take for mom to get there and until she was probably six years old, I would talk to her on the phone and she would say, “Mommy, is it daytime or nighttime in your place?” because I was traveling so far. My three takeaway tips for men or women who are managing their children while in a high profile job, stop using the term work-life balance, there’s no such thing. Instead, come up with a plan to manage the chaos, because there is always going to be chaos. And set realistic expectations for things that you can do. I outsourced a whole lot of stuff. I’ve never done my daughter’s laundry because I just didn’t have time for that. I got a housekeeper because I wanted to spend time with her versus cleaning the house. And I learned to work differently. If there were things that I wanted to do with her, I would tell my senior leadership, “I’m leaving work at three o’clock because we’re having a Halloween parade, but I’ll be back online at 8:30pm after her bedtime.” I found a way, to the extent I could, to make both my work schedule and my life schedule meet. And you have to accept a lot of help. My daughter is very fortunate that she has a literal brigade of godmothers that she refers to as her “Titis”. Those women have saved my life in moments where I could not be the best mother possible. Outsource, ask for help, accept help, and set expectations at your place of employment.

Superpowers vs. Kryptonite

Chris: Sherry, last question, and I’m doing it a little bit different with two parts. The first question is, what are your superpowers?

Sherry: Strategy. I’ve always tended to be able to see the whole picture, and how the pieces fit together, which has been very helpful to me in my life and career. I have always been open to and willing to accept and to act on any type of constructive feedback that makes me better as a person, as a mother, as a friend, and/or as a lawyer. That has also been helpful to me in my life. Finally, I would say my interest in people. One thing that I’ve discovered over the last 10 or so years of my career, is I get really excited when members of my team can be pushed to the limit and pushed to learn new things and to do new things. To see them step out in faith and try things that make them better lawyers is rewarding. To the extent that I can help guide that and provide that level of development is something I’ve really enjoyed. If the feedback I’ve gotten from those individuals is any indication, I’ve been fairly successful at it.

Chris: And the second part of that question is, what is your kryptonite?

Sherry: Wow, Chris, that’s hard. Champagne and a charcuterie platter, maybe?

Chris: Perfect answer. That’s excellent. Sherry. It’s been an honor and a pleasure. Thank you for your time today.

Sherry: Well, thank you for having me. I really appreciate this opportunity to chat with you.

Thank you to everyone who listened to this episode of The Law Firm Leadership Podcast.

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