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Ilyse Goldsmith, U.S. Bank
Ilyse Goldsmith, U.S. Bank

In-House Counsel 2022: Ilyse Goldsmith

As Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank has steadily grown in size and assets, its international operations have also expanded. Senior vice president and chief employment counsel Ilyse Goldsmith has played a major role in helping the bank grow and thrive globally.

After working at Minneapolis-based Dorsey and Whitney, Goldsmith joined the bank in 2006 to serve as an adviser on the employment law team, which then consisted of just two attorneys. Since then, the team has grown to 12 legal professionals under the leadership of Goldsmith, a Northwestern University Law School graduate.

For years, U.S. Bank used only outside counsel to handle employment law issues outside the U.S. But Goldsmith has recently been engaged in expanding the bank’s international employee support function.

These are eventful times for U.S. Bank, which made its first major acquisition (Union Bank) in a number of years, Goldsmith says. “There are many employee-related issues connected to (doing business internationally). People in this industry feel strongly connected to their jobs, and we want to do what we can to preserve their good feelings toward their employer.”

Generally speaking, laws on the continent are “very protective of employees, with a lot more processes in place for actions we may be taking with respect to our employees,” she says. “Each country obviously has its own heavily regulated environment.”

Goldsmith appreciates the way her roles have evolved in her 16 years at U.S. Bank. “One thing that’s really gratifying about what I do is that there’s always something new to learn; and, we’re always asking ‘How can we do it better?’”

In her non-working hours, Goldsmith has been a committed volunteer to several local organizations. She advises the COO and legal team of Fraser, a Minneapolis-based provider of autism and mental health services. She has also provided major assistance to Herzl, an overnight camp attended by her children, serving on the board of directors and executive committee, and advising staff on human resource issues. She’s also volunteered at the Volunteer Lawyer Network Access Point clinic, and volunteers with her kids at Feed My Starving Children.

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