Women Worth Watching 2015
This Mayer Brown Partner Works Hard and Makes Smart Choices
Rebecca Eisner was inspired to be a lawyer while working in the government affairs department at Dow Chemical. Her job required knowledge of certain laws and regulations that were important to the company. She became interested in learning more, and decided to attend law school.
After graduating cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, Rebecca joined Mayer Brown in 1989 as an associate. But in 1993, she left the firm to move with her family to Atlanta, where she became an assistant vice president of legal at Equifax, supporting legal contracting for the company’s top 20 financial institution clients. It was during Rebecca’s tenure with Equifax that the Internet exploded onto the scene, leading her to develop a tech, privacy, and outsourcing niche.
In 1996, Rebecca returned to Chicago and joined the Mayer Brown’s Business & Technology Sourcing group. Over the years, she helped the group grow from one of mere transactional legal counsel to one that helps clients develop and implement their overall sourcing strategy. She has also served on the Mayer Brown Global Partnership Board, a committee of 13 global partners who oversees the firm management committee, and as co-leader of Mayer Brown’s Privacy & Security group for the past seven years.
“Being a woman in my profession has been very satisfying,” said Rebecca. “I love it when people break stereotypical norms. There have been many times in my career and life when I felt that people underestimated what I could do because I did not fit their norms. It has been immensely satisfying to change their views on what is possible.”
Rebecca is widely recognized by numerous legal industry ranking guides, including Chambers USA, Legal 500, and Best Lawyers in America. She is co-chair of the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals Security Chapter and a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
“Know your personal and professional true north, and follow it.”
Active in Mayer Brown’s women’s initiatives, Rebecca speaks on panels with clients about women and business development, mentors female associates, and participates in the firm’s women’s conferences.
Outside the office, Rebecca recently served as a board member of Interfaith House, a 56-bed facility on Chicago’s west side that focuses on curing homelessness through healing and supporting the whole person.
Education: JD (cum laude), The University of Michigan Law School; BA (cum laude) The Ohio State University
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
…the confidence to do what is right, even when that is difficult.
The career advice I’d give my former self:
Learn from your mistakes, but do not dwell on them.
Words I live by:
Know your personal and professional true north, and follow it.
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
…I would have asked for more leadership opportunities, instead of waiting for others to suggest them to me. I have been fortunate to have some great mentors who encouraged me to accept leadership roles, but I should have “leaned in” on my own, earlier and more often.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…wear ear plugs so I hear nothing but my own thoughts.
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
…my election to the Mayer Brown Global Partnership Board, a committee of 13 global partners who oversees the firm management committee. I learned more about the firm and our capabilities, and I am a better leader in my current role as Partner in Charge of the Chicago office because of that experience.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
…very satisfying. I love it when people break stereotypical norms. There have been many times in my career and life when I felt that people underestimated what I could do because I did not fit their norms. It has been immensely satisfying to change their views on what is possible.
I’ve learned that failure is…
…part of learning. If you are not failing at some things, then you are not pushing yourself hard enough. Taking risks and being willing to fail is a critical part of personal growth and success.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…staying very connected to my family and friends. I also allow myself downtime — quiet time to myself when I do not have to engage with people, and I can reflect and recharge.
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
…my sister had gone to law school, and I always looked up to her and admired her intellect. In addition, I was working at Dow Chemical – my first job out of college – in government affairs and PR. I sat next to the lawyers who supported my business unit. They were all so smart and capable, so I decided that I wanted to be like them.