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Skadden Partner Conquers ‘Irrational Fear’ After Skiing Accident and Gains Big Client

Posted Sep 5, 2012 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Nancy Lieberman showed no fear when she went to the University of Chicago law school at age 19 and when she made partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom at age 30. She displayed her confidence as she advised corporations in her mergers-and-acquisitions practice.

But fear took hold in 2007 when Lieberman broke her neck in a skiing accident, leaving her unable to move her legs, the Wall Street Journal reports. "My biggest fear in the hospital was that people would look at me and say, 'This person is in a wheelchair,' that it would be viewed as such a turnoff that no one would want to hire me," she told the newspaper. "In retrospect, this was an irrational fear."

When Lieberman first returned to Skadden she asked for an administrative role, hoping to show she could return to M-and-A work. She proved herself when she led a team selected last year to help Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. in legal work leading to its $5.1 billion sale to Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in August.

Lieberman has also advised Jon Huntsman Jr. in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, the story says, and she has advocated for more handicap-accessible taxis and funding for spinal injury research.

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