Most Powerful Women in Banking: Stacey Friedman, JPMorgan Chase

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General Counsel

Stacey Friedman has spent the last couple of years using technology to make JPMorgan Chase’s legal department faster. But this year she was forced to crank it up even more.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, the volume and velocity of incoming legal and regulatory actions at the largest U.S. bank by assets grew significantly. Friedman’s team had to move fast to interpret them and provide advice for the relevant business functions, all while monitoring and reacting to new developments. From the start of the pandemic through May alone, it tracked 2,200 developments globally.

“Across the firm, things were getting done in a week that normally could have taken a year,” said Friedman, who has been JPMorgan’s general counsel for four years.

Friedman formed a “legal response incident team” and appointed a representative for each business or function to be the decision-maker and liaison for those areas. They met at least daily to communicate information from the operating committee and focus on pressing firmwide legal issues.

“We are a much higher performing department when we get the right decision-makers and subject matter experts together to make sound decisions and act quickly,” Friedman said, adding that the company is implementing many lessons of this period into its future operations.

Friedman is a strong advocate for diversity and was instrumental in a decision to increase fertility benefits and surrogacy assistance to all employees last year, making it easier for LGBTQ employees to expand their families.

JPMorgan now covers up to $30,000 for services like in-vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, hormone replacement and associated medication for all employees. Before, same-sex couples had to pay for these services out of pocket.

For the first time, American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking celebration is open to the whole financial community. Join us virtually October 6-8 to hear our 2020 honorees' stories and experiences. Register here.

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