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Conflict, Client & Matter Supervisor; Faegre Baker Daniels

Unsung: Cathy Bailey

Cathy Bailey

Cathy Bailey

Conflict, Client & Matter Supervisor; Faegre Baker Daniels

When the Minneapolis law firm of Faegre & Benson merged with Indianapolis-based law firm Baker & Daniels at the start of 2012, everyone involved experienced a level of shift, but for Cathy Bailey, the transition was a significant upheaval. Fortunately, she thrives on change.

“I’ve been with the firm since 1978, when there was one office and about 100 attorneys,” Bailey said. “I’ve seen a lot of growth, and that’s given me the opportunity to learn. It seems like my job morphs into something else entirely every few years.”

During the merger, her job morphed fairly rapidly. In her role as Conflict Supervisor, Bailey was one of the first administrative staff impacted; she managed hundreds of conflict checks between the two firms, trying to spot any ethical and business conflicts that could impact the merger.

Just a few months before the merger was finalized, Bailey worked to integrate conflict databases from both firms. In addition to that formidable project, she also brought together conflicts and matter opening processes and procedures, so that the merged firm could successfully operate as one team.

“We used to joke that during that time, the chairs in the conference room never had a chance to grow cold,” she said.

In her 35 years at the firm, this is the largest project she’s been assigned, said Kevin Tracey, the firm’s director of finance, in her nomination.

“Cathy’s pre- and post-merger effort and work has been exemplary,” he said. “Change management is always a challenge, lawyer change management is almost an oxymoron, and Cathy did an excellent job of getting everyone using the new processes and procedures, and she did so in her quiet manner, with a great deal of positivity.”

Although that initial wave of change has passed, Bailey looks forward to more challenges as she continues to refine processes.

“There are still ongoing projects involved in becoming a unified firm,” she said. “I’m ready.”

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