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Drinks With The Deal: DLA’s Ruhland on Working In-House, Managing

Published: January 18th, 2024
Kathy Ruhland discusses leading deal teams and being co-head of the corporate practice group at DLA Piper as well as her time in-house at General Mills.

“I went to law school at the age of 30,” Kathy Ruhland said on this week’s Drinks With The Deal podcast. “It’s OK to do things backwards or out of order or open yourself up to opportunities that you may not have thought about before. There’s not a predetermined path by any means.”

Ruhland, an M&A partner and the global co-chair of the corporate group at DLA Piper, started out as an associate before going in-house at General Mills Inc. (GIS), where as senior international counsel from 1999 to 2005 she focused on two of the Minneapolis-based consumer food company’s largest joint ventures, one with Nestlé SA and one with PepsiCo Inc. (PEP).

“My experience in-house has made me a better lawyer,” said Ruhland, who added that she didn’t anticipate early in her career that she would become a manager as well as a practitioner. “You have to take a bit of a risk. Sometimes, you’re thinking, ‘Am I right for that position?’ You need to have a growth mindset. If you think, ‘This is an opportunity for me to learn, to grow, to help others grow,’ that is the key.”

Check out the podcast with Kathy Ruhland below:

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