Foley & Lardner LLP
617.342.4000 | foley.com
Susan has been the Boston office managing partner of Foley & Lardner since it opened in 2004, and has helped grow the office from 20 to 100 attorneys. She is also Foley’s chief strategic talent acquisition partner and is responsible for recruiting and hiring attorneys for its 19 offices across the United States and internationally.
Why did you want to be a lawyer?
As a child, I always had an opinion and liked to give advice. While in law school at Harvard, I still liked the idea of being a consigliere, but wanted to be an advisor to many creative, entrepreneurial people rather than focusing on a single business.
What kind of work do you do at Foley & Lardner LLP?
My law practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and represents technology, healthcare, and life science companies. One of the things I love doing is helping founders of companies build a succession plan. Whether by death or by design, at some point they have to transfer their business. As you help clients prepare for that transition, you become their trusted advisor and friend.
How has Foley & Lardner LLP supported you and other women as leaders?
I have been privileged to wear many leadership hats at Foley. In addition to running the Boston office, I headed the firm’s technology practice for 10 years and served on the firm’s management committee until last year.
Foley & Lardner is committed to being gender-blind in terms of giving people leadership opportunities and promoting diversity and inclusion. The firm also is committed to looking for the best people for leadership roles and putting women in the positions so that they can take on more responsibility.
What have you learned about navigating the top echelons of business as a woman?
Don’t try to manage like a man. You have to have your own style and skill set which is going to be different for both men and other women. I recommend pursuing a management style that reflects who you are. I have a gregarious, outgoing, warm personality, so I spend a lot of time getting to know people and their hot button issues and using that knowledge to advise them and work toward their success.
What advice would you give to women who aspire to be in leadership roles in their field?
Ask for it and try hard not to turn down opportunities when they are offered to you. As a mother of three children, I know it is hard to balance work and life, but it is important to say yes.