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« Taking Time to Reflect on Your Legal Career | Main | What's Your Motivation as a Lawyer? »

Paul Hempel: Moving Beyond Life as a General Counsel

Hempel In 2005, when Paul Hempel was diagnosed with cancer, he decided that it was time to take stock in his career. He had already been a partner at a regional firm in Massachusetts (starting in litigation and switching over to corporate) and a partner in his own small firm. As general counsel to a medical devices, diagnostics and services company, Inverness Medical Technologies, he had already built a law department from the ground up (the law department now has over 25 employees including IP, M&A and securities lawyers and lawyers on the ground in China, Germany and England.) He had taken the company through numerous acquisitions and reorganizations and the company had increased it’s sales by 400%. It had been a great run; but with all the uncertainty surrounding his health, Paul decided that he was ready to try something outside of the practice of law.

Today, Paul is living the next phase of his professional life and he even has a clean bill of health from his doctor. In April 2006, he became Senior Vice President in charge of Leadership Development for Inverness Medical Innovations (the successor to Inverness Medical Technologies). For about a year, he retained his role in overseeing the legal affairs of the company. Three months ago, he divested himself of all legal responsibilities and is now fully devoted to helping develop the senior management team.

Paul is excited about this new phase in his career. He plays a key strategic role in helping to shape the future of the company. The job involves a lot of interviewing of top leadership. He also advises the President on top level hiring decisions. While his goal in life had always been to become a General Counsel, after seven years on the job, he realized that he had skills that he could apply to non-legal problems. Today he is enjoying helping to build leadership in the company so that it can continue it’s highly successful run.

By Stephen Seckler, guest blogger.

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This is a very inspiring story about the variety of situations in which a solid legal education (along with years of experience) can be valuable. It's also testimony to adaptability and the willingness to embrace adversity and to transform it into something positive. Thanks for posting it!

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