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Renee Jackson, Jostens Inc.
Renee Jackson, Jostens Inc.

In-House Counsel 2022: Renee Jackson

Corporate legal work is frequently touted as offering a better work-life balance, and, here and there, Renee Jackson has found that to be true. But she can attest that corporate law has its moments of high stress and long hours.

Jackson has split her 30-plus years as a lawyer almost in half between litigation work for Twin Cities law firms and working as in-house counsel for a variety of Twin Cities businesses. There have been career highlights from both worlds, she says. Her first 15 years as a litigator for prominent firms prepared her in many ways for her subsequent 17 years in the corporate world.

Law firm litigation “teaches you a lot of great lessons for in-house counsel work, including being calm under pressure, focusing on strategy and being detail-oriented. It prepared me well for the second half of my career,” Jackson says.

She landed her current position as general counsel at Bloomington-based Jostens last year. She leads a team of three other lawyers and says the current work presents a wide variety of legal issues focused on helping the business at all stages — from brand enhancements to digital innovations, from strengthening the employee base to contracts with business partners, and most importantly, assisting the executive team with growth strategies as the company emerges from a challenging two pandemic years.

Previous in-house counsel stints included serving as general counsel for Young America LLC, Capella Education Company and The Dolan Company, and as associate general counsel for Fair Isaac Corp. Jackson repeatedly found herself helping companies during transformational phases, which at times meant that a job well done led to having no job, as when she helped Capella successfully merge with Strayer Education and assisted Dolan in selling its business lines.

She likes where she’s at and what she’s doing. “As a trial lawyer, I was fighting problems that happened between two companies four or five years in the past,” she says. “In-house counsel work allows me to be more proactive and resolve issues in real time. That’s a satisfying way to make a difference.”

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