Women’s History Month: Nancy Lieberman — Still Law Firm’s Youngest Partner Ever

For Women’s History Month, Alpha Rising sat down with Nancy Lieberman, Of Counsel, at Skadden, Arps. She was and still is the youngest person to ever make partner at one of the biggest international law firms. She is tenacious and has worked on some of the biggest M&A deals in history, all while being confined to a wheelchair with minimal use of her hands.

The wheelchair is the result of a skiing accident that left her as a quadriplegic back in 2007. And while she has since gotten movement in her arms, that chair has not stopped her from working on the biggest M&A deals in history.

She has advised clients like Great Plains Energy (GXP) , Rite Aid (RAD) and DigitalGlobe, before it was purchased by Maxar Technologies (MAXR) .

One of her most notable deals was while she was representing Amylin Pharmaceuticals, when it wanted to end its partnership with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly (LLY) . After that was completed, she went on to represent Amylin in its $7 billion sale to Bristol-Myers (BMY) in 2012.

Lieberman’s work on Amylin earned her a “Dealmaker of the Year” award from The American Lawyer in 2013.

All in a wheelchair.

“I want to walk again” she says.

And she will because she can’t sit still for long. She skipped 8th grade, completed high school at 16, and finished law school at 22 and made partner at 30 in 1987.  She still is Skaddens’  youngest partner ever.

Granted, it wasn’t easy – even dating was hard since men were very intimidated by her.  Watch the clip above to hear exactly how hard that was for her.

But it’s also exactly why we want to honor her for Women’s History Month.

Today she is “Of Counsel” at Skadden Arps.  At most law firms, that’s where an attorney who was either an active senior partner (or a retiring judge or General Counsel of the company) wants to continue practicing law, but is not necessarily required to bring in new business, says Lieberman.

“In my case, I have certain clients who still like to seek my advice, but I have also been focusing on writing two books.”

So watch the clip above but stay tuned for more videos and the full inspirational podcast of our conversation, which covered everything from her horrible accident to her favorite M&A deals.

Stay tuned. 

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