Meet Heather Stevenson, the Deputy General Counsel at Boston Globe Media Partners. Her practice spans a broad range of media law and general commercial issues, including advising the newsroom on public records and intellectual property matters, as well as providing legal guidance to the company on contracts, employment matters, and compliance issues, among other topics.

Heather started her legal career as a litigation associate at Sullivan & Cromwell and
previously founded a juice bar with locations in the Boston area. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Columbia College and received her LLM from the University of Amsterdam.

Learn more about her in this Women Who Wow profile.

What do you love most about what you do?

My favorite thing about my job as an in-house lawyer for a media company is that I’m constantly learning. Both the media industry and the law are evolving rapidly, so new questions come up all the time. The only way to do my job well is to adopt a growth mindset and understand that while I’ll never know everything, I can always learn more and, in doing so, add more value.

How did you end up in-house and what advice would you give to others who want go in-house?
My path was not a traditional one. I started in big law, left to start my own company and then returned to the full-time practice of law in an in-house role. It was my experience building a business – which involved doing all the things, including contract review and negotiation – that helped me secure my first in-house job as legal counsel at the same company where I’m now Deputy GC. My big law training was as a litigator, which was great in many ways, but wasn’t what the Globe was looking for when they hired me.
My advice to others who want to go in-house is to try to build skills transferrable to the in-house context in whatever role you’re in, whether that’s as a corporate lawyer, litigator, or doing something totally different. You don’t have to gain the skills that you’ll need in the same environment where you ultimately want to use them. Also, learn to tell your story.  You may know that as a junior litigation associate you managed a team of assistants, and that experience prepared you to enter an in-house role with supervisory responsibilities, but the person interviewing you won’t know that unless you tell them.
What do you think is the key for success in a role like yours?

As an in-house counsel, my business mindset has been an important key to my success. As a lawyer, my primary function is to provide legal advice and guidance. However, in order to do that most effectively as an in-house lawyer, the legal advice needs to take into consideration the business environment in which I’m operating. I don’t just state the law or even just interpret it broadly. Instead, I help my colleagues understand how the law applies to what we’re trying to do and how it can help us accomplish our goals, and I find ways to mitigate risk while maximizing potential upside.

How do you achieve work/life balance?

Work/life “balance” is not something I strive for. To me, the phrase implies that there is some sort of even division between work and everything else and that work is not part of life. That’s not how I see things.

I strive to live an awesome life on my own terms, and to have my career be one important factor helping me to create the life I want.

In order to do that, I have gotten really clear on what matters the most to me and on what is not a priority. I also put myself in an environment (in-house at a great company with a really terrific boss) where, as long as I am clear on setting and sticking to my boundaries, it is possible to prioritize what matters both professionally and personally.

For me, among other things, this looks like putting my son to bed and having dinner with my husband being the norm not the exception, it looks like running every day, and it looks like (at least, pre-Covid) traveling for fun regularly, all while spending my working hours doing work that I view as important and that constantly challenges me to learn and grow.

Follow Heather on LinkedIn.