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    Friday
    Oct302009

    Colleen Glynn »

    She thought that combining her business background and a legal education would be a valuable combination. However, when exploring law school options she found that the absences her job would require were not well received by the schools that had accepted her. It was during an interview with one of these brick and mortar schools that the admissions counselor told her about Concord. “That was the beginning of a wonderful journey and the realization of my goal to become a lawyer,” says Colleen.  

     

    Fortunately for Colleen, her employer recognized the benefit of having an attorney on staff that truly understood their business. "They were so committed to helping me achieve my aspirations to become a lawyer that they paid for my education at Concord in full, as well as covering the costs of my bar prep classes,” she explains.  Since they had as much at stake as in Colleen did when she sat for the February 2008 California Bar Exam, they even extended a two month leave of absence to her so that she could adequately prepare for the exam. Colleen recalls the one "doubting Thomas" in her company who, throughout her four years in law school, expressed more than once his doubts about how it benefited the company to have an in-house counsel.  "Today, he relies on me for legal matters and many times won't make a move without first consulting me.  He finally sees the value of having a general counsel who grew up in our industry, and more importantly in our company, and who can apply the law better than anyone as a result."  

    Law school turned out to be everything she had dreamed of and more. Despite a full-time career and family obligations, being a ‘mature’ student and an already accomplished business woman enabled Colleen to apply a level of discipline and commitment to her studies that would have been difficult for a young undergraduate to muster. “The fact that my classmates were equally and, in many instances, far more accomplished than me, was a bonus that I would never have received in a traditional law school. The experiences and maturity of the student body resulted in truly engaging and challenging discussions about the law and the application of our lessons to the real word, and supplied a support system of friends that I still remain in contact with today.”   

    Today, Colleen serves as general counsel of her company. She tackles issues related to corporate governance, intellectual property, contract law, employee disputes, and even an occasional criminal matter. Prior to her serving in this capacity, her company used an outside firm. In addition to being expensive, it also meant the outside counsel needed to be educated on every matter related to the business. Today, Colleen handles most of the company’s legal work, and only occasionally calls upon outside counsel for assistance.

    Colleen believes that in working with other attorneys she can turn around those who doubt an online education. "If, by example, I can demonstrate my competence as an attorney through the representation of my company and the protection of its interests, then I believe I am actually demonstrating firsthand Concord's competence."  In fact, she admits that a New York law firm has been aggressively recruiting her despite the fact that she’s not able to sit for the New York bar exam. She was told by the company “that attendance at an accredited law school was not determinative of a person's ability to be a good lawyer. Her business knowledge and conduct as her company's general counsel was more indicative of her success as a lawyer and command of the law" then the name of an accredited law school on a diploma could ever indicate.

    Colleen admits that there isn't a day that goes by when she is introduced as "our general counsel" that she doesn't get goose bumps.  "I love saying or hearing said ‘I'm a lawyer.’ I feel like a kid in a candy store, because I truly love what I'm doing." Still, she is the first to admit that it also means many long days, frustrations and challenges. Nonetheless, it is the process of applying a need, in the interests of a party, within the boundaries of fairness and the law that she loves the most about her profession.  "I owe it all to Concord which instilled a love of the law in me and which gives me the solid foundation every day to do what I love so much."