November 22, 2023

Barbara Grayson, partner and Midwest Chair of Willkie’s Private Wealth Group, was featured in a Q&A profile in Corporate Counsel in recognition of her Thought Leadership Award presented at the annual Women, Influence & Power in Law 2023 conference and awards. 

The Law Firm Thought Leadership Award honors women leaders in the law with passion and drive to guide a successful team through their outstanding leadership skills. Barbara represents high-net worth individuals and families on tax and estate planning and advises family-owned businesses, family offices and charitable organizations on a wide range of legal issues, including the transfer of wealth, governance and succession issues, and fiduciary responsibilities. 

The Q&A profile discusses her route to the top, including her work in becoming a trusted adviser for colleagues and client, and building a substantial practice. 

Barbara notes: “The hard work is fundamental; the more work you do, the more you learn, and the more equipped you are to be a trusted adviser for colleagues and clients. Listening is key, and if you do it well, it will differentiate you from your peers. Being a good friend develops valuable professional relationships. I believe if you do those things, luck will find you.”

She discusses how her perspective on her career development has changed throughout her career, noting that as a first-generation lawyer starting out, she did not know what to expect. “I wish I would have known when I first started out how much more fun it gets once you get past the grunt work. The work I do today is challenging and interesting, and I am thankful for the opportunities I have had over the years,” said Barbara. 

Barbara adds that the best leadership advice she received was to ensure support on the domestic front to have the bandwidth for professional leadership. “Professional leadership is about building something bigger than your own practice. It requires focusing on developing junior attorneys in the group and involving them in the strategic initiatives to grow the practice. Building a profitable business means you can attract and retain the best talent long-term. Make your clients happy today, but plan for next year and five years from now, and act accordingly.”

The Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards honors top women lawyers who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession -- whether in shaping the law, achieving outsized results for their clients, being an outstanding jurist or assisting those in need of legal services.

View Barbara’s 2023 “Law Firm Thought Leadership” profile here (subscription may be required).


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