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Evie Hightower, Associate General Counsel at Facebook

Alumni spotlight

Evie Hightower

Associate General Counsel at Facebook

Evie Hightower spent five years in the Commercial Real Estate team of our Atlanta office before joining Facebook in 2018. During this time, she took part in ‘Pass the Baton’, an exchange program that established a firmwide culture following the combination of Eversheds and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

Evie reflects on her epic tour visiting our Munich, Düsseldorf and London offices – and how she adapted to life in-house at one of the world's largest technology companies.

How did you get involved with Pass the Baton?

Prior to attending law school, I participated in a year-long fellowship program in Germany. Given my previous experience in the country, when Co-CEOs Lee Ranson and Mark Wasserman created the Pass the Baton program, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in the firm’s Munich, Düsseldorf, and London offices.  

What surprised you most about your European experience?

Surprisingly, I experienced a smooth integration into the Real Estate teams in the German and London offices. Another surprising experience, and certainly my most unforgettable one, was attending Oktoberfest with attorneys from the Munich office and the firm’s clients. It was a fantastic way to kick off my time in Europe.

What impact did the firm have on you as a lawyer?

During my time with Eversheds Sutherland, I received solid training and exposure to a variety of real estate transactions, which provided me with a holistic view of the practice of real estate law and was the foundation for my current role at Facebook.

I was also afforded the opportunity to directly engage with clients early in my practice. That active engagement helped me to better understand the clients’ business needs and priorities and function as a strong advisor to clients.  

How would you describe the in-house transition after leaving private practice?

I experienced a smooth, but rapid, transition into my in-house position. During the first couple of months, I navigated a steep learning curve, as I spent time familiarizing myself with my business partners’ transactions, building strong relationships with team members and business partners, and learning about Facebook’s internal operations, organizational structure, policies, and culture.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of going in-house?

I would strongly encourage anyone considering an in-house move to focus on identifying a role in a legal department where there are opportunities to expand your practice, embrace an active role in advising business partners, and challenge yourself to ensure continued growth as a lawyer.

What do you value from external counsel?

I value outside counsel who invest the time and energy to learn my business partners’ priorities and value drivers in addition to my priorities on the legal side. The outcome is that my business partners and I receive tailored and solution-oriented guidance, which creates efficiencies and results in smoother transactions.