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Anthony Grice remembers a moment in law school that has continued to pay dividends throughout his legal career. Six weeks into his first year of law school, Grice says the professor told the class they should be feeling stressed and uncomfortable.
“Get comfortable with that feeling,” the professor said. “If you can’t get comfortable with that feeling, you should probably find another profession.”
Grice, senior counsel for commercial litigation at Abbott, says that at present, those are the feelings he has most days since coming to the company in 2021. It’s not because the job isn’t right for him, or that going in-house after twelve years of firm practice was the wrong move either. It’s because those are the feelings that drive him to push past his comfort zone and evolve into new areas of practice and counsel.
“Abbott has allowed me to put myself in an uncomfortable position and to grow,” Grice explains. “Whether it’s becoming a subject-matter expert in a new area of law or just relying more on sound judgment and logic, this is the challenge I wanted. It’s good for me, and it’s helping create another strong legal asset for the company.”
The attorney built out an impressive private practice résumé, specializing in employment law and employment litigation. Grice attained a partner position at firm Husch Blackwell where he successfully tried cases in federal and state courts and represented employers before various administrative bodies.
But that work is only part of Grice’s story. The attorney says his life before law school contained a variety of exposure to multiple industries including retail and pharmaceutical. Grice also had the opportunity to study abroad, backpack through Europe, and absorb cultures other than his own.
“I think that exposure diversity helped me be a leader with my clients and work to understand their business operations,” Grice explains. “And, over time, I began to understand that I had a skill set that was amenable to the hybrid practice of law and business as an in-house attorney.”
Fortunately, Grice had continued to take his personal development seriously as a fellow at the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). He was matched with an “accountability partner” who is part of a broader networking framework. Grice describes this partner as someone who can help you accomplish goals that you set for yourself. “If they can help you accomplish professional goals, that’s just icing on the cake,” he notes.
In this case, the accountability partner helped him with both. His partner is Abbott’s senior counsel and director of e-discovery and encouraged him to apply when an in-house position became available at the company.
“I think my path to Abbott is a real testament to the power of networking and maintaining positive relationships with connections you meet in any environment,” Grice explains. “They showed me the door, and the sophistication of the legal department here is what got me inside.”
Initially, Grice leaned into what he knew. He and five other employment lawyers took on a wide variety of litigation and counseling for an organization of Abbott’s substantial size. However, Grice wanted to take that law school advice to get uncomfortable.
“I was offered my current role in commercial litigation, and I saw it as a chance to take a step back and accept a level of discomfort around a new area for me,” he explains. “It’s the challenge that I wanted, and I think it’s allowing me to progress my career here within Abbott and be an even better business partner.”
Grice credits a number of colleagues at Abbott who have aided him in his growth journey, from his partners in the commercial litigation group to his manager and divisional vice president, David Mendelson. Grice says he’s received both direct and indirect support from so many who have helped him embrace the unknown and continue his journey to become a true generalist in the space.
“This organization has allowed me to ask all the questions I need to ask but also identify those times when I need to be less academic and more practical in my counsel,” he says. “I still do some employment work that I know like the back of my hand, but I also get to build out new capabilities and skill sets.”
He is continuously motivated at Abbott, not only by his own journey, but also the passion of others. He recalls a moment when Mendelson was expressing his frustration at a plan not going as intended.
“David explained the reason he was upset was because he’d spent the majority of his adult life protecting the company,” Grice recalls. “It’s not just coming to work and collecting a check. That’s part of the culture that I love here, and that’s a memory that will stick with me for a long time.”
Gibson Dunn congratulates Anthony Grice for his countless contributions to the legal community. Anthony is a business-minded litigator and creative problem solver. Gibson Dunn is honored to partner with Anthony and the entire legal team at Abbott.