The flexible counsel model is continuing to gain popularity as legal professionals seek rewarding career alternatives. Paragon is striving to give those professionals meaningful work outside the traditional path by providing the highest quality talent and service to leading corporate legal departments.
Tracy Scanlan is a former embedded attorney at Paragon who now serves as the company’s Vice President of Client Development and Legal Affairs. We recently sat down with Tracy to discuss what it’s like to work in a corporate role at Paragon, why she’s so passionate about work/life balance for Paragon’s attorneys, and more.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and career progression?
I graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law in 2007. Right after law school, I got a job as a legal research assistant at the San Francisco Superior Court.
I had always wanted to be an advocate and be more in the mix, so after a few years, I went to work for a class action law firm. After that, I took a little break from the law and went to work at a startup on the business side.
I then went to work at StubHub, which is where I first came across the idea of being an in-house counsel. I got a really great opportunity to work for a small employment law firm, and then finally at Paragon.
I had read about Paragon years before, and I thought it was such a unique, cool model, so I was really excited to work there.
What was it like working as an attorney with Paragon and then as a member of the corporate team?
It’s been great. Things happen really fast. I came into the office, I met some people, and I got a ping the next day with a potential role. I interviewed with the client and then was onboarded super quickly. It was really just a great experience. I worked in-house at a tech company with a really cool legal team and I felt very included both on the client side and with the people at Paragon who were checking in on me.
At one point Paragon reached out to me about a corporate role. I haven’t had a very straightforward legal career, which actually made me a good fit for it. I had good project management skills, I was organized. When they decided to look in-house for the role, I felt it was a great opportunity. I felt lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
The more I learned what it would be like on the inside, the more I was attracted to working for Paragon in this capacity. At the same time, I still got to practice law through Paragon. So, it’s been a very good mix of legal and business experience, working with people and working on processes.
What are you most passionate about in your work?
I just love it when we make a great match. I really like introducing people, and I think I’m good at spotting good matches, so my favorite thing at work is finding that perfect match and advocating for why we think someone is a good fit. I love drawing on our resources to provide an ideal team member to a client and giving the attorney that opportunity, because I feel like Paragon gave me that opportunity.
I really believe in Paragon’s goal of providing work/life balance to people, not just for parents, but for anyone that has outside pursuits. I think what the past few years have shown us is that we all spend a lot of time at work. You give up a lot to go to work and so it has to matter, right? You should enjoy your work and feel good about it.
What business trends do you think will be important in the second half of 2022 and into 2023?
There’s a lot of talk about recession. We’ve already seen a lot of companies rescind offers or lay people off, so we need to keep an eye on that. It always creates a lot of uncertainty in the market and clients are being really mindful of cash flows.
I think a lot of times our job is to let the clients and the candidates know what we’re seeing in the market and reassure them when we can. We do what we can to stay ahead of any trends and help both our clients and our lawyers adapt and navigate the market.
We can’t change how things may develop at a macro level, but those we work with don’t have to face these trends alone.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens. Right now we’re seeing a lot of movement in the market.
What are you most hopeful for about the future?
I’m hopeful the past couple years will be the push that corporate culture needed in order to shift the way they think about working. I think there’s been a reckoning amongst everyone about how they want to be treated at work, how tied up their lives have to be with work, and how it fits in with their outside life.
I’m looking forward to the next few years to see how that landscape changes. I’m hopeful it will change for the better and that people are able to have the time and money they need to support their lifestyles.
Paragon has been in front of that for many years.
I believe our leadership in this area also helps our clients. We help clients retain embedded team members so their workers don’t get burned out, and we save them from spending their time on recruiting, for example.
In the end, this helps them ensure they’re retaining the best talent.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I like to read when I get the chance. I have two kids who are pretty fun, a 6 year old and a 4 year old, and I like to hang out with them. Also, I’m very into crafting and DIYing, so I watch a lot of YouTube for ideas. I do some yoga.
Sometimes I think of my hobby as developing new hobbies – I really like to try new things, so I’m always looking for something new to do.
What are your favorite vacation spots?
Probably Greece. I’ve only been there once — it was for my honeymoon and it was a ton of fun. I love to see other cultures and go to places where there’s a combination of things to do and to learn.