Name: Liz Wideman
Title: Vice President and Senior Deputy General Counsel – Comcast Corporation
Firm Background: Summer Associate: 2000, Associate: September 2001 – June 2006
Office: Philadelphia, PA
In the Beginning
Growing up in the small town of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, alumna Liz Wideman always knew she wanted to be a lawyer, but she didn’t always envision that her path would lead her to a senior position as in-house counsel for a global media and technology company — Comcast Corporation. While Liz remained local for her undergraduate education, graduating magna cum laude from Villanova University with a B.S. in management, she traveled to Boston for law school and fell in love with the city while earning her J.D. from Boston College. She began to consider staying there after graduation, but an interview with Drinker Biddle & Reath changed her mind and drew her back to Philadelphia for good.
“It was definitely the people I met at Drinker that drew me to the firm and back to Philadelphia,” Liz explained. “In fact, I still remember meeting now retired partner, Bob Jones, who was my most favorite person meeting through all of recruiting. He stood out to me, and I thought if Drinker has a lawyer like him, I want to work there.”
“Some of my best friends today came from my days at Drinker,” Liz stated. She still enjoys reconnecting with alumni and current attorneys at the firm through alumni events and programs. “It all goes back to what drew me to the firm in the first place — the people. I enjoy attending alumni events and reading about other alumni in updates because I get to see people who I genuinely like and learn about what they’ve been up to and are doing.”
Liz was a summer associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath during the summer of 2000 and joined the firm’s Philadelphia office as a full-time associate in the corporate group in the fall of 2001. She remained with the firm through 2006. When asked if there were any moments from her tenure that stood out in her mind, Liz replied, “[T]here are so many lessons I learned and fond memories. I have very warm feelings about Drinker, and the lawyers there really trained me to be the lawyer I am today. I had incredible mentors, including Bob Juelke, Doug Raymond and Jack Michel.”
Liz remembers a valuable lesson that Jack taught her as a first-year associate while drafting a law firm client alert. She had found an article in a nationally prominent newspaper that had reached the opposite conclusion than her own research and assumed she was wrong. Jack, in questioning why she relied on the article, explained, “This is going to be an important lesson. Don’t always believe what you read in the papers or accept what someone tells you. You should trust your own skills and research as a lawyer.” From that point on, she gained a new perspective and confidence in her own abilities that remains useful through today in her current role as vice president and senior deputy general counsel for Comcast Corporation, as well as in life in general. In her role at Comcast, Liz primarily oversees legal matters related to U.S. securities laws and corporate governance.
As a fourth-year associate, Liz was happy at Drinker and assumed she would remain with the firm for the long haul and ultimately become partner one day. However, an unexpected loss in her family coupled with a cold call she received about an open position at Susquehanna International Group (SIG) caused her to rethink her future and take a harder look at how she was spending the majority of her time. Liz loved the interesting and challenging work she did at Drinker, but she was also putting in long hours at the firm and was intrigued by the fact that SIG was starting a new business. “[I thought] it would be cool to get in at the ground floor,” she said. “And, at that point, I wasn’t sure I really wanted such an intense job for the rest of my life. There’s more to life out there, and I needed to give it a try.”
In her second year at SIG, Liz was once again faced with the question of where she envisioned her career going. One day, her dad remarked that he noticed she didn’t talk about her current job with the same intellectual curiosity as she did when she described her work at the firm. She missed the thrill of working on deal transactions and SEC matters. That conversation caused her to take a step back and think about the future. About a month later, through a coincidence with alumni connections, she learned that Comcast was looking for an M&A and securities attorney — and the rest is history. Liz’s takeaway from her experiences is that it’s important to periodically assess where you are in your professional career and whether what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis is something that satisfies you and you see yourself doing long term. If it doesn’t, it might be time to make a change or go back something that you enjoyed previously.
Finding a Home at Comcast
Liz has been in-house at Comcast since 2008 and can’t imagine working anywhere else. The fast pace of her current role is what she enjoys most. “There’s always something new and interesting to learn, and with the rapid pace of change in the world, it’s interesting to think about how the company could be impacted and get ahead of that” explained Liz. Something new is always finding its way to Liz’s desk, including matters she never would have imagined. “I never in a million years would have thought I’d be sitting here today saying that I’m currently working with subject matter experts to make climate-related disclosures externally. It’s an exciting position to be in.”
Life Outside the Office
Outside of the office, Liz is passionate about her involvement with the nonprofit organization PAWS — which is dedicated to saving Philadelphia’s homeless and at-risk pets. It is the city’s largest rescue partner and also provides affordable basic pet care for pet owners and rescue organizations that can’t otherwise access it. Liz sits on the board of PAWS and currently has one rescue dog. When she’s not working or spending time outside with her pets (and there’s not a pandemic), you can find Liz and her husband traveling the world and experiencing different cultures.