Deena Hyson Bailey Discusses Her Role as an In-house Attorney

Photograph: Deena Hyson Bailey.Deena Hyson Bailey, '97, Washburn Law's 2022 Alumni Fellow, was hosted for a Lunch and Learn presentation on November 8, 2022, by the Business and Transactional Law Center, the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, the International and Comparative Law Center, and two student organizations, the Washburn Business Law Society and Women's Legal Forum. Ms. Hyson Bailey spoke about her role as an in-house attorney at Cargill and she offered advice to students embarking on a career in the legal field.

After attending Washburn Law, Ms. Hyson Bailey started her legal career in litigation. At her first firm, she took an employment law case and found that she loved employment work. She moved firms to take on more employment law cases, before heading in-house at Raytheon to do labor management and equal employment opportunity work. Ms. Hyson Bailey joined Cargill in 2007 and is currently their Senior Labor and Employment Counsel. In addition to her substantial responsibilities at Cargill, Ms. Hyson Bailey also makes time for pro bono work, including volunteering for Kansas Legal Services on the Protection from Abuse Docket.

Photograph: Deena Hyson Bailey.In her presentation, Ms. Hyson Bailey encouraged students to take targeted, calculated risks when making moves in their legal careers, because without taking risks the students' careers will generally not move forward. She told students that it may take several moves to gain the experience they need to reach their ultimate goal, but by taking calculated risks and maximizing their strengths they can do it. Students can make a risk "calculated" instead of "reckless" by planning how they will take the risk, what they will do if the risk doesn't work out, looking at the pros and cons of taking the risk, and, in the end, remembering there are always a lot of options when you are an attorney.

Speaking to her experience in the corporate world, Ms. Hyson Bailey said that she enjoys the way her in-house counsel role has allowed her the chance to grow and develop. She said that each success she has allows her to build and grow her confidence level. She encouraged students to see criticism as a gift and a chance to become aware of something they may not have known before. Ms. Hyson Bailey recommended that students seek out feedback as a way to learn what they can improve and get accustomed to working constructively with the response.

Washburn Law congratulates Ms. Hyson Bailey on being named our 2022 Alumni Fellow, and thanks her for talking with students about taking risks and growing their legal careers.

Photograph: Students at Deena Hyson Bailey's presentation.