We are continuing our “Meet FLEX Attorney” series to hear directly from our attorneys how FLEX is working for them. This month we interviewed Julie Liedtke to hear about her FLEX experience.
Julie is a veteran in-house employment law practitioner. With over 18 years’ practice experience, Julie has in-depth expertise in helping multinational companies manage their global workforces and navigate broad and often complex U.S. and international employment laws. Prior to joining FLEX, Julie was the Director of Global Employment Law at SanDisk Corporation. She was also Chief Counsel of Employment, Government Affairs and Ethics at Synopsys, Inc. She began her career in Human Resources prior to law school. She earned a B.A. from San Jose State University and J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law.
Q: How did you first hear about FLEX?
I’m a long-time client of Fenwick & West (16+ years). I first heard of FLEX a few years ago, not long after the business service was started.
Q: Why did you decide to be a FLEX lawyer?
First, a little background: Prior to joining FLEX, I was at SanDisk for 8 years where I was the head of the Global Employment Law function. Before that I was at Synopsys for 11 years where I was the lone employment attorney. I’ve always been an in-house practitioner. I left SanDisk last year when it was acquired by Western Digital, and took a 10-month sabbatical and traveled the world.
That experience changed my perspective profoundly. Although I love being an employment lawyer, I’ve decided I don’t want to “live to work” anymore and I like the flexibility of being a FLEX lawyer.
Q: What do you like about FLEX?
The flexibility as mentioned, but also the variety of work. I’m on a 6 month contract at Cisco right now, which they’ve indicated they’d like to extend a bit. After that, I plan on taking another break and traveling more. When I come back I can pick up where I left off with another assignment with a new client company. The like the prospect of new environments, new perspectives, and new challenges.
Q: What has your FLEX experience been like?
So far so good! This assignment at Cisco has been my first as a FLEX attorney and I’ve been here going on three months. Excellent company and very good people to work with. It’s rewarding to be able to jump in and help them cover while the head of their employment law and employee relations group is on maternity leave.
Q: What does a typical work day look like for you?
I may start the day with a conference call – Cisco has very geographically dispersed operations and every meeting is via WebEx. After that I head into the office, which is all of 6 minutes from my home if the traffic lights are with me. Luckily, I usually don’t have many other meetings since I’m a contract attorney and can focus on getting work done. I have a variety of matters I’m working on – individual employee issues, drafting agency responses, advising on employment aspects of corporate transactions, employment litigation cases, etc. Whatever is the call of the day.
Q: Was there anything that surprised you about being a FLEX lawyer?
FLEX offers health benefits and 401K!
Q: What would you advise an attorney who’s thinking about joining FLEX?
I’ve already referred a couple attorneys I know to FLEX. They are likewise attracted by the flexibility in terms of types of assignments available (full-time, part-time, quarterly) and great client companies. Its affiliation with Fenwick & West gives FLEX’s reputation an added boost too.
Q: Finally, if you weren’t a lawyer, what do you think you’d be doing and why?
A professional organizer (I’m just by nature a very organized person).