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Alumni spotlight

Heather Howdeshell

Senior Corporate Counsel at Delta Air Lines

Heather Howdeshell spent nearly four years in our Atlanta office as a corporate attorney before joining Delta Air Lines in 2013. Heather discusses life in-house at the major US air carrier and the best career advice she ever received

Can you tell us about your current role?

I’m a member of Delta’s Corporate Transactions and Marketing team within our Law Department. My role consists primarily of advising on Delta’s customer marketing plans, consumer policies and programs (like SkyMiles), and transactions (ticket sales). I spend a lot of time with my business teams in hands-on development and issue-spotting for new projects and initiatives.

What does a typical week look like?

It really varies from day-to-day which is one of the things I love about my job. As our business continues to evolve, so too does my role as a lawyer. Whatever the context, my focus is to always provide attentive support and actively participate in Delta’s commercial decisions while limiting legal risk.

What do you value from external counsel?

I appreciate outside counsel who treat me as part of the team and understand that I want to play an active role in pending matters and strategy. Most of the in-house lawyers I know have prior firm experience so can add significant value given their familiarity with private practice.

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

I leverage many of the commercial and M&A skills I developed at Eversheds Sutherland, particularly when managing Delta’s corporate and marketing transactions, including partnerships and investments.

All the partners and associates I worked with influenced my professional practice. What I valued most was when senior lawyers found time to explain and debate the legal issues with me. Their efforts helped to sharpen my technical analysis and elevate the quality of my writing.

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

When I started at the firm, a senior associate told me to treat all projects as a chance to advance my skills. So I try to approach every piece of work as a way to learn something new about my practice, the law or the business.

That shift of perspective gives an extra dimension to even routine matters like due diligence or reviewing contractual language. They’re no longer just tasks that cross your desk which you have to complete: they’re opportunities to improve.

I think that mindset has made me a better lawyer over the years.

If you would like to add Heather Howdeshell to your network, you can connect with her via LinkedIn .

Heather Howdeshell