Career Notes 9.6.20
Ep 14 | 9.6.20

Elizabeth Wharton: Strong shoulders for someone else to stand on. [Legal]


Elizabeth Wharton: This is Elizabeth Warton and I am an attorney by training and currently chief of staff at SCYTHE, an Internet startup company.

Elizabeth Wharton: I've always enjoyed solving problems. Nancy Drew being some of my favorite books growing up. Early on, I thought I was going to be kind of the white knight CEO, district attorney fighting crime. And I realized very quickly, after years of high school mock trial competitions, that at the end of the day, I did not enjoy litigation. So while I knew I had found my home in the policy legal world, it took me a little while to come upon the technology side. So I spent a few years on the Hill, looked around the room and said, what's next? And saw that everyone who was at that level I thought I wanted to be, they all had a law degree.

Elizabeth Wharton: From there, I went to law school, passed the bar, and of course, answered the sirens call of big law firm, big money, big projects, and worked in finance, business and real estate for about the first six years.

Elizabeth Wharton: As I started doing that, more and more friends being in the Atlanta area were involved in different technology projects, research and they started asking you questions. And, you know, hey, if we're doing this, if we're researching this, is this legal? And from there it just snowballed.

Elizabeth Wharton: And next thing I know is the John Wick and the John Wick movies, which say, are you are you back, John? And eventually he's like, yeah, I guess I am. So, you know, are you are you a technology attorney? Well, yeah, I guess I am.

Elizabeth Wharton: From there, I've had the good fortune to take that years of advising businesses from the outside looking in and helping companies shape their strategy from the legal perspective that I've been able to grow that and now can help companies shape their strategy from the inside looking out. So that's what a lot of fun.

Elizabeth Wharton: It really helps building in, if you have thought, five moves ahead as you're doing something that when surprises come up later, it's it's a lot of fun what I get to be able to say, "Oh, no, no, we built that it we baked that into the contract ahead of time" or "Yeah, I anticipated." I mean, one of the best examples is you look at, for example, if I'm working with security researchers and we've got a product that we want to use that says, oh, you can't reverse engineer this software, but if I know going in that that's exactly what we're going to do, but not from a malicious standpoint instead, we want to make sure it meets our needs. So knowing how to then go back to the other company and say, hey, I'm going to be honest, engineering team is going to reverse this, but we're doing it to protect ourselves. So basically, think of it as we're going to be doing free quality assurance testing and suddenly folks love you because you're like, wait, you're going to pay us money to use our product and give us effective feedback on how to make it better. Yeah, let's do that.

Elizabeth Wharton: Ask those questions, find find what brings you joy, what piques your interest, what sparks your imagination, look around, see who's doing even just a piece of that or part of that and ask them, hey, what what about this drove you there? What should I do? What I learned and just absorb that information. Every step of the way, I have had someone willing to give their time, their expertise, and really just mentoring doesn't quite sum it all up. I mean, supporting cheering me on. And I'd like to think that I can just help someone else, because I've heard that adage that a rising tide lifts all ships. We didn't get to where we are without the help of others. And so I'd just like to add strong shoulders for someone else to stand on and help reach their heights.