Behind every successful venture-backed tech company is a legal powerhouse managing the intricate web of legal and business matters. We recently had the privilege of speaking with Shelley Hall, an accomplished General Counsel, to explore her unique journey from journalism to law, the challenges she faced, and how the TechGC community became an invaluable resource during her career progression.

From the Newsroom to the Boardroom

Shelley’s journey into law was an unconventional one, originating from her work in the news industry. “I was a TV news producer,” Shelley says, “and the TV news producer is basically the General Counsel of the news room.  You need to roll with whatever is thrown at you, make quick decisions with sometimes limited information, and keep everybody under control!”  Feeling that journalism and law shared commonalities, such as the emphasis on writing, Shelley decided to trade the news room for law school.  “In looking back, producing newscasts trained me well for the in-house GC role,” she explains.

Discovering TechGC

As she navigated the complex waters of her first General Counsel role, particularly during that company’s acquisition, Shelley found a lifeline in TechGC. “It was a lifesaver for me, and not just the substantive content.  At that time, I knew I was working my way out of a job in the middle of a pandemic, and TechGC’s community of General Counsels provided support on multiple levels,” Shelley shares.

For Shelley, TechGC stood out from other legal groups due to its relevance, lack of pretentiousness, and the sense of camaraderie it fostered. “Everything TechGC presents applies to my work.  The people have similar jobs and tackle similar issues. We can share strategies – it’s not snobby,” she adds.

Building Skills and Breaking Molds

Shelley found TechGC’s Senior Executive Summit to be a transformational experience. “The focus on  General Counsel as a true business leader opened up possibilities for me,” she states. The event also emphasized the diversity of personalities in the field, showing that “we don’t have to fit one mold, we can all do our jobs in very different ways, and all be very good at it.”

The All-Seeing Eye in a Tech Company

When asked about her favorite aspect of being a General Counsel, Shelley emphasizes the bird’s eye view she enjoys within the company, and that she can directly see her impact on the business. “When I was in private practice as a litigator, I wanted to know what effect my work had on the business itself.  You don’t have that overall view as a law firm partner, which is why I ultimately went in-house.”

The transition from private practice to in-house, then to the General Counsel was a learning journey for Shelley, filled with a wide range of issues and overwhelming at times. “You just have no idea that so many things could land on your plate,” she says. But this experience also helped her grow as a business person, recognizing her role as a business executive, not just a lawyer.

Building Friendships Beyond Professional Acquaintances

Beyond providing legal resources and a network, Shelley sees TechGC as a platform for building friendships. “I have made very good friends through TechGC, which I don’t think happens in other organizations,” Shelley shares. She believes that the real power of community is found in these personal connections, the shared experiences, and the deep bonds formed through the group.

Her time at TechGC

Shelley joined TechGC almost 3 years ago in September 2020. Since then she’s attended over 45 events including both of our Senior Executive Summits in Hawaii and Arizona. At our 2022 TechGSea Senior Executive Retreat in Hawaii, Shelley led one of our breakout group conversations around GC as a Strategic Leader, where she led some of our most experienced General Counsels in thinking about where they are as a leader, where they want to go, and how to get themselves there. Shelley has also co-chaired our TechGC Technology Transactions Virtual Forum in July 2022, where she held with the creation of the theme and content for the virtual forum alongside Daniel Corcoran, SVP, Legal and General Counsel at NextThink.

Shelley is a TechGC Executive Board Member for the 2023-2025 term. The TechGC Executive Board assists in the production of high-quality, practical content created by and for its members at private events held all over the world.

Learn more about Shelley here.