Jacqueline Phipps Polito
Office Managing Shareholder
Littler Mendelson, P.C.
Years in current role: 2 as OMS; 9 years at Littler
What do you enjoy most about your role?
As an attorney who specializes in representing management in all aspects of labor and employment matters, I most enjoy my role as a trusted business partner to my clients. This starts with understanding the core business of the client. When I provide advice and counsel to my clients, or conduct a workplace investigation, I am assisting them with making business decisions based upon applicable law, but also providing them with a risk assessment of the issue at hand, taking into account their respective business needs. When I am defending clients in litigated matters, whether it be a single plaintiff claim or a class action lawsuit, I am providing top notch litigators trained exclusively in representing management. Due to our expertise, we are able to concentrate on unique and difficult arguments to successfully protect our client’s business and reputation throughout the course of litigation. I appreciate learning about the culture of the client’s workplace environment, through the investigatory process, and identifying any potential areas for future improvement.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
The biggest challenge over the past year was ensuring employee engagement. Of critical importance is to have a team you can rely on. Whether you are a leader or important contributor and member, everyone plays a valued role. In the virtual world, it is important to ensure that each team member continued to be valued and feel supported. Littler was committed to providing our Rochester team with the tools and techniques they needed to do their jobs, through high end technology, the best equipment, and resources for employee wellness. The past year has been a source of anxiety and uncertainty; recognizing those challenges was key to maintaining our team. We succeeded because we supported our employees by providing them with certainty regarding job anxiety and offered employee wellness opportunities to address the social isolation created by lockdowns.
What do you see as the biggest changes in the legal industry in the next 3-5 years?
Law firms will need to adjust to a flexible working environment. Additionally, law firms will need to continuously implement the latest technology to effectively serve the competitive needs of clients. Law firms have traditionally hesitated on supporting work from home arrangements. However, given the pandemic and lack of alternative options, we anticipate that many employees will not want to return to an office environment full time. We need to think innovatively and adjust any past expectations to embrace the current demands of the work force, while maintaining the high quality of service expected by our clients. In order to effectively embrace the new workplace, we need to invest in technology infrastructure, train and prepare for cybersecurity threats, and devise workplace accountability techniques to support the growing demands of clients and employees. Given the work from home success we had as a multi-global law firm last year, Littler is poised to meet these challenges in the future.