Cleary swoops AmEx veteran

People may laugh uproariously at the idea of moving to private practice for a better work/life balance. They might cackle harder when they realise that the place in question is a US firm. But it appears that an increasing number of senior in-house counsel are choosing to leave for a less demanding private practice role, both in the UK and US.

The latest example is Louise Parent, who after 20 years in the general counsel role at American Express has decided to plump for an of counsel role at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s New York office.

In an internal memo sent to staff, AmEx CEO Ken Chenault said he respected Parent’s desire to start a new chapter in her life, one that would allow her to “more fully enjoy her family” and passions outside of daily work. US firms might not be famous for their work/life balance, but Parent no doubt set her own terms with this one.

And she hasn’t been the only one to wave off a financial institution in recent months. This side of the pond, Nationwide’s general counsel Liz Kelly has resigned to spend more time with her family and Barclays’ head of compliance and regulatory relations Hector Sants resigned from the post after taking a leave of absence due to stress and exhaustion.

As a growing number of firms offer more flexible ways of working while legal issues at financial institutions continue to balloon, expect more to have a rethink.

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