Meet The Rainmaker - Karen F. Green

by Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D.
Presented by the Women Rainmakers
February 2004
Name: Karen F. Green
Firm Name: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Address: 60 State Street Boston, MA 02109
Phone: (617) 526-6207
Nominated by: Stephanie S. Goldstein, Chief Marketing Officer
Practice area:
Karen Green is a senior partner and co-chair of WilmerHale's Litigation Department. She is a member of the Investigations and Criminal Litigation Group, the Securities Enforcement and Litigation Group, and the Government and Public Policy Litigation Group. She represents companies, corporate officers, and directors under Federal investigation, particularly within the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. She has been practicing for 25 years including both private practice and government experience.
Best career advice to give:
Take charge of your own career, but remain flexible enough to move, as necessary, into new areas of expansion and growth.
Percentage of time devoted to marketing:
100%. I try to do great work for existing clients and I consider that a form of marketing. The percentage of time I spend making presentations to potential clients and giving speeches is about 3-5%.
Proudest accomplishment:
Securing summary judgment for the EPA in the Boston Harbor litigation. We sued state and municipal authorities for their failure to comply with the environmental laws. The suit resulted in a massive cleanup of the Boston Harbor and a dramatic improvement in the quality of the water in metropolitan Boston. I feel good about the work I did, along with many others. It is apparent every time I visit the Boston Aquarium or see someone enjoying the harbor because it resulted in a great public benefit. Also, the case featured highly skilled opposing counsel, I argued the motion for summary judgment while I was 8.5 months pregnant, and the EPA had the Court's decision hand-delivered to me at the hospital, the morning after my first son was born.
Knowing what you know now, if you were starting out as a lawyer today, what would you do differently?
Nothing.
Tell me about one rainmaking strategy or tactic that you initially thought would work, but it failed. Why did it fail?
Random acts of lunch.
People who find their conduct under criminal investigation are generally more interested in knowing how many similar matters one has handled in the past.
Tell me about one rainmaking strategy or tactic that you initially thought would fail, but it was a great success. Why was it successful?
I wrote a long article on a hot enforcement topic in a specific industry that took a substantial amount of time and effort. After it was done, I questioned whether it was worth the time and effort, but subsequently learned from a client that it was the reason that the client called to retain me as its counsel.
If you were mentoring a young woman lawyer, what advice would you give her regarding rainmaking?
  • Know your sources of new business and tailor your marketing strategy to those sources.
  • Establish your niche - it remains particularly important for women and minority lawyers to specialize.
  • Listen carefully to your clients—you can learn a lot about what your clients need by listening to them.
  • Keep abreast of new developments in their industries.
  • Make sure you have fun — it's important to find pleasure in one's work.
Would you say you ever had a mentor that made a genuine difference in how your career turned out? If yes, please describe.
Judge W. Arthur Garrity, Jr., for whom I clerked, was an early role model and advisor who helped shaped my view of the legal profession. Bill Weld gave me significant opportunities to do important public work as an assistant U.S. attorney and his chief of staff. Our former Managing Partner, John Hamilton, Jr., encouraged me to take the “long view” with respect to my career and to become involved in firm management. Bill Lee, one of our current co-managing partners, has also served as a mentor, primarily by his example.
Think about when you started out as a lawyer. Now think about the new female lawyers just starting out. What is different now compared to when you started?
For one thing, there are now female role models in partner and leadership positions. When I started out, there were only one or two female partners at the firm. In addition, legal practice has been dramatically affected by technology - it is more global than ever before and everything happens at a faster speed, requiring firms to respond even more broadly, quickly and efficiently to their clients' needs.
List words that best describe you:
decisive, gregarious, thorough, thoughtful, peripatetic, competitive, ethical, hardworking
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Interview by Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D.
LPM Women Rainmakers is a national forum enabling women to network and develop business opportunities. By understanding how to develop business, women can exert greater control over their careers and integrate their personal lives successfully with the practice of law. For more information on LPM Women Rainmakers, visit www.womenrainmakers.org .
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