Given the organization’s name, it should come as no surprise that its employees say it takes a special type of person to work at Epiq Global. The tech-first global legal and corporate services provider tackles grand and complex tasks with confidence. Therefore, its employees need to be bold, daring, ambitious, and bright.
Alison Wisniewski is Epiq’s chief legal officer. The veteran corporate attorney came to the organization as corporate counsel on a three-member legal team in 2010. She found the room and latitude to grow and develop at Epiq, stepped into her current role in 2017, and still draws energy from the team and culture around her.
“Our work can admittedly be fast-paced and stressful, but it’s endlessly rewarding,” she says. “I didn’t have to leave the organization to seek growth and development elsewhere. Epiq has allowed me to develop my career over time and that keeps things exciting.”
There was a time when Wisniewski believed life as an attorney to be dull. In fact, the stories her father shared about his work as a patent attorney drove her to try a different path. She went to college at Northwestern University as a theater major before switching to communications.
Upone graduation, she faced a crossroads when she took a job as a paralegal at a large global law firm. “I realized I could either be a struggling actor hoping to make it big one day, or head to law school and take my career down a completely different path,” Wisniewski explains.
A good score on the LSAT solidified what Wisniewski already knew—she had the aptitude to pursue a legal career, but needed to find the area of law suited to her interests and personality. She would find a home in transactional and corporate law.
Wisniewski logged four years at New York area firms, where strong female partners trained and mentored her. She seized the opportunity to work on securities filings and other aspects of public mergers and buoyed that specialty expertise by mastering the basics of transactional law.
By 2010, Epiq needed someone to support sales teams for its eDiscovery and class action businesses, and Wisniewski fit the bill. She took her first in-house role, primarily negotiating client agreements for the business units.
Epiq, a publicly traded company, acquired four different companies in five years to grow its geographical footprint as well as its service offerings before it was taken private in 2016. By 2017, Wisniewski was asked to lead the legal and compliance teams. Now, she manages all legal tasks, advises business leaders, serves as corporate secretary, and oversees all compliance issues.
Two years ago, Wisniewski partnered with another leader to serve as an executive sponsor for Epiq’s official diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program. Although an informal and volunteer DEI group was already in existence, Epiq was ready to formalize its efforts by adding more structure and intentionality. The company launched employee resource groups in 2021. “We’re committed to evolving Epiq’s culture. ERGs [employee resource groups] and DEI initiatives help us connect with our employee base in meaningful ways,” Wisniewski says.
A more empowered and diverse culture will not only create good internal culture but also ensure Epiq is aligned with its clients and customers. Epiq now has about 5,500 employees spread across 80 offices in 14 countries. Of those, 44 percent are women and 45 percent are people of color. In 2021, 56 percent of all employees hired were women and 56 percent were also people of color.
While others might find the work Epiq engages in to be intimidating or even exhausting, Wisniewski thrives under pressure. She credits her dedicated team with helping her navigate the many and varied challenges that come their way and says she gives each person she works with the freedom to get work done and tend to personal matters at the same time.
“We want to do great work, enjoy what we do, have fun together, and avoid burnout,” she says. This approach, which was already in place, became even more important as Epiq navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wisniewski’s dreams of professional theater may be on the back burner for now, but that doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her passion for acting. The hardworking professional was able to make time during COVID-19 to participate in a few community theater cabarets. While it can be challenging to find the time to participate in a full-blown production, an occasional role may be in her future. For now, she’s focused on helping Epiq be at its best so its clients can achieve success.
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