Women in Securities Law

Episode 57: Women in Securities Law
Guest: Linda Riefberg

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My guest this week was recently acknowledged as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Securities Law. Linda Riefberg started out as a general commercial litigator in a large Wall Street firm where she was an associate working part time with two young children. When asked to increase her hours to full time, Linda decided it was time for a change. While job searching, she stumbled upon a position at the New York Stock Exchange and immediately loved the subject matter as well as the work environment. Collaboration and team work fit well with Linda, in addition to her ability to specialize in one particular business sector of the stock market.

After working in that position for 18 years, Linda decided to venture into private practice. She is now a member of the Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation department, where she represents clients in securities enforcement investigations.

Throughout Linda’s career, she has seen that the business side of the financial industry is mainly men. In contrast to that, there are many women who have made their careers as regulators and attorneys on Wall Street. Linda believes that the collaborative environment that regulators work within is why there is a higher female presence.

Now that Linda is in private practice, she has been struck by the struggles that women face. For example, she has seen the small percentage of women in upper management. She also sees the misconception that women can’t be as aggressive as men or as good at developing business. Linda feels that women make great lawyers because they’re good communicators and are great at thinking analytically. She believes that women are good at counseling clients as well but that they aren’t as direct at taking credit for achievements, like bringing in business.

To achieve success in your work, Linda recommends maintaining a happy career, which sometimes means making changes. Also, she advises not to take things personally. Often, if you’re having a difficult time with someone, it’s their behavior that is causing the conflict. Lastly, Linda recommends focusing on your skill sets because your achievements come from the investment that you put into your own work.

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