The joy of giving back

See this post in Italian here.

On 27 June 2022, our legal team had the pleasure and honor of taking part in a panel that started a series of sessions dedicated to students at the Faculty of Law at the University of Milan (Italy).

The sessions aim to provide students with information and insights about three types of legal professions: in-house counsel working for domestic and international companies, private-practice lawyers working for international law firms, and lawyers working for international organizations.

Our legal team—consisting of Maria Grazia Mamone, Teresa Russo, and Annarita Epifani, from McKinsey’s Milan office—actively coordinated and led the work of the panel, which was moderated by Albert Henke (aggregate professor of transnational commercial litigation and international commercial and investment arbitration at the University of Milan). McKinsey’s Lilian Chen (managing counsel, Greater China region, Hong Kong office) served as special guest and keynote speaker.

McKinsey’s Milan legal team has been working with other panelists from some of Italy’s leading companies:

Gianpaolo Alessandro, general counsel, UniCredit SpA

Michele Ausiello, senior legal counsel, Eni SpA

Antonia Cosenz, head of legal and regulatory affairs, Banco BPM SpA

Vito Maurizio Iacobellis, legal counsel, Stellantis (FCA/PSA Group)

Simona Nuccio, Cohead of group lending and advisory legal, UniCredit SpA

The meeting was exceptionally stimulating and enriching, not only from a professional perspective, but also from a human one for three main reasons.

  • The first reason is the possibility of connecting with students and returning to the university. We have had the wonderful opportunity to share our professional experience, our suggestions, and our opinions with students. We also had the opportunity to reexamine our profession from a new perspective. We considered what makes our work interesting, what we really like to do, and how we arrived at McKinsey from very diverse and unique work experiences. Students surrounded us at the end of the session for advice on their career paths, and many contacted us on LinkedIn after in hopes of receiving additional advice as they take their first steps toward the world of work: this is the incredible and vivifying “joy of giving back.”  We had a great time insinuating ourselves into this newer version of the university world that we all had left behind many years ago and helping it to modernize and move closer to the world of work and its current needs, as well as helping it to create the right skills and competences in its students.
  • The second reason is the opportunity to confront ourselves and dialogue with peer counsel in other prominent Italian companies. The panel enabled us to discuss a number of important issues in a Q&A format, such as the following: the importance of abandoning our “comfort zones” and continuing to challenge ourselves; internal career paths and how difficult it is to retain talent today; the importance of giving value to the impact that legal departments have on companies and the difficulties involved in quantifying it so that it becomes evident to the business; the right to disconnect; the transparency of pay; and career opportunities for women within legal departments. The panelists discussed how initiatives such as this one provide rare opportunities for open dialogue and confrontation, and how we hope to create other stimulating initiatives.
  • The third reason is team building and the joy of participating and building such an important initiative with your local team. This initiative gave us the opportunity to gather together, to brainstorm together, and to work together on topics of interest to the three of us, without too much stress and with the sole aim of giving back and mentoring. It has given us visibility and has made us more aware of what we can do if we collaborate and how important it is to support one another: without a fair division of labor, we could never have structured this initiative and the next ones.

McKinsey has put “giving back” and social responsibility at the center of its values. We in the legal team have been able to contribute through this beautiful initiative, which has proven to be enriching and exciting and has allowed us to give something of ourselves to the new generations.

More initiatives to come! Stay tuned.