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Abigail Nesbitt
Abigail Nesbitt

In-House Counsel 2021: Abigail Nesbitt

To Abigail Nesbitt, litigation is diplomacy by other means. She enjoyed the diplomacy she conducted in four years of practice at Robins Kaplan, but for her, something was missing: the rest of the story.

“I wanted to be part of growing an organization, not just solving external problems,” Nesbitt said.

So Nesbitt pursued in-house counsel work as soon as she could. She became general counsel with Wilson Learning Corp. and then a senior vice president with Winthrop Resources Corp.

Since 2018, Nesbitt has been a senior vice president and litigation manager for TCF Bank. She manages disputes, litigations, and adverse matters across the enterprise. Because that includes all business lines in the many states where TCF does business, that means a lot of variety. “That’s really the fun of it — there’s something new every day,” she said.

While Nesbitt has been involved in many matters for TCF, the most significant recently have been mergers. In 2020, despite a global pandemic, Chemical Financial successfully integrated with TCF in what was called a merger of equals. “Our folks were very proud that we met the integration timelines and deadlines set prior to COVID,” Nesbitt said. “We stayed on schedule and did what we said we would.”

Another merger with Huntington Bank is set to close in the second quarter, and Nesbitt has been involved with both transactions. “There’s value in being able to close these transactions and not miss a beat in functions,” she said.

A decade of involvement with the Association of Corporate Counsel has netted Nesbitt not only peers to bounce matters off of, but also opportunities to mentor others in similar situations.

“Law firm practice is different from in-house,” Nesbitt said. “We don’t have the luxury of legalese; we have to help business leaders make our legal advice actionable.”

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