Women Worth Watching 2015
WilmerHale Partner Stands Up for Her Global Clients and Fellow Female Attorneys
As a partner at WilmerHale, Elizabeth Mitchell’s practice focuses on representing global financial institutions, investment advisers, broker-dealers, futures commission merchants, accounting firms, and public companies and their employees in regulatory investigations, enforcement actions, and litigation involving the federal securities laws. She has extensive experience representing clients in investigations and proceedings involving algorithmic trading and complex trading systems, alleged insider trading, alleged accounting irregularities, and compliance with numerous regulatory requirements, such as best execution, Regulation NMS, Regulation SHO, and the market access rule.
“…all paths are open…”
Elizabeth has represented clients before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Department of Justice, self-regulatory organizations, and state attorneys general. She also conducts internal investigations and counsels clients on regulatory and compliance matters. From 1999 to 2001, she served as a trial Attorney in the Torts Branch of the United States Department of Justice. In this role, she represented the White House and several federal agencies in the government’s litigation against the tobacco industry.
“Being a woman in my profession has been both an asset and far more unique than one might expect,” said Elizabeth, “given the relatively balanced split between women and men law school graduates. One rewarding aspect of my job is mentoring talented younger women and encouraging them to see that all paths are open to them.”
Actively involved with the WilmerHale’s Hiring Committee and Women’s Leadership Initiative, Elizabeth helps to implement policies and develop programs (both formal and informal) designed to assist women attorneys with career development. This includes mentoring programs that seek to ensure that all firm attorneys receive the opportunities, advice, and encouragement needed to achieve their full potential.
Education: BS, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: JD, Harvard Law School
First Job: Movie theater box office and concessions
What I’m Reading: “A Good Killing” by Allison Leotta (a law school classmate and friend); “The Boxcar Children” series (with my 7-year old)
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
…good judgment, which is a necessary component of many other important leadership qualities, including analytical skills, strategic thinking, initiative, and team-building skills.
The career advice I’d give my former self:
Quality work is a requirement but not sufficient. Personal relationships matter. Spend more time getting to know your colleagues and your clients.
Words I live by:
Be present and be focused. If you are working, focus on work, and if you are with your family and friends, focus on your family and friends.
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
…I’m not sure I would change anything. Every prior experience gets you to where you are now and shapes how you think about and approach future challenges.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…carve out time to focus on it in the early morning or late at night when I am less likely to be interrupted. I make lists as ideas come to me so that I have the ability to refer back to them later.
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
…my first post-college job was conducting research in a biochemistry lab. While the work was important, I realized I was not suited for a scientific research career, and instead went to law school. This transition taught me that one should do what you love and move on when you no longer do.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
…both an asset and far more unique than one might expect given the relatively balanced split between women and men law school graduates. One rewarding aspect of my job is mentoring talented younger women and encouraging them to see that all paths are open to them.
I’ve learned that failure is…
…part of life and that today’s shortcomings are, with a bit of distance and perspective, more appropriately viewed as learning experiences.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…keeping the day-to-day pressures (both personal and professional) in perspective, and by enjoying life’s little moments as well as the bigger ones.
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
…I realized that it was a never-ending learning experience. I am never bored and am always learning and growing as a lawyer and as an advocate.