Mindi Giftos hopes the success she’s had in the fields of intellectual property and technology law will give aspiring female lawyers a little bit of confidence that they can do the same.
Giftos, a managing partner in Husch Blackwell’s Madison office and a member of its technology, manufacturing and transportation group, said her interest in the legal profession was kindled at a young age. The first in her family to become a lawyer, she chose her career after hearing an observation that is no doubt familiar to many a person who has travelled the same path.
“I think the idea cropped up early in life as my mom always told me I should be a lawyer because I was always negotiating,” Giftos said.
Giftos chose intellectual property law after recognizing how she could be helped along in that sort of practice by her long-standing interest in technology.
Now at Husch Blackwell, she has become a co-leader of both the firm’s data-privacy, security and breach-response team and its new Internet of Things team. The work couldn’t be timelier, with headlines appearing everywhere about the massive ransomware attack that recently struck computers around the world.
Giftos said data privacy and security should be topics of discussion in the boardrooms of every U.S. company. Data breaches, she warned, usually call for remedies that are both expensive and complex.
Through Husch Blackwell’s security and breach-response team, Giftos and her colleagues have found themselves helping clients by ensuring their systems are secure and their contracts contain adequate protections. They have also been called in to assist companies that are struggling to put the pieces back together following a breach.
As a leader of the team, Giftos works directly with clients while doing what she can to ensure she and her team members remain on the lookout for trouble lurking on the horizon.
Even though Giftos has risen to a leadership role in her field, she doesn’t think there are enough women specializing in intellectual property and technology law.
That perception puts Giftos under more pressure to succeed: She feels she must help make a mold that other women will eventually be able to fit into.
“It is my hope that by establishing a successful practice in male-dominated fields, and by taking on leadership roles at my firm, that I can help pave the way for others,” Giftos said.
Of course, more needs to be done, she said. One result of that recognition is her involvement in Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin. The program not only trains girls in grades 3 through 5 to run a 5K race, but also helps impart important learning lessons about life.
Giftos, herself an avid runner, said her involvement with the group “was a perfect combination for me.”