Molly Jones said her greatest fear of going in-house was that she was going to miss being in the courtroom and being the one taking depositions.
But when she started her role as assistant general counsel focusing on litigation at Monsanto a few years ago, she found she didn’t have time to miss that “at all.”
“I still have a very big role in my cases,” she said. “My first year at Monsanto I was involved in multiple trials. I didn’t miss a beat.”
Jones came to Monsanto from Bryan Cave, where she worked for 12 years and was a partner. She wasn’t looking to leave the firm, but Monsanto “is one of the St. Louis companies that has cutting edge litigation,” and the job was an opportunity to get to know clients a lot better and work on a different side of legal issues, she said.
“When I realized that the job was open and a possibility, it became something I couldn’t not try,” Jones said.
Moving in-house did come with some changes, like having a broader focus than she did in private practice, where she worked in the area of products liability.
“At Monsanto, you have a role that spans all sorts of different disciplines,” Jones said. “I have to consider the business, and the business needs in the litigation. I have to consider corporate governance issues, reporting obligations, things I never had to think about as outside counsel.”
Jones also said there are a few aspects of private practice she misses, like doing her own depositions.
“It is very hard for me to take on a management role in litigation rather than being the one making objections during trial,” she said. “I still kind of jump up in my seat in trials I’m watching.”
But, she said, she wouldn’t trade the experiences she had so far at Monsanto.
Among her favorite things about her current job are the “fabulous people” she works with as well as the ability to make final decisions, as opposed to presenting a client with a variety of options.
“It’s really exciting when you’re the person who is recommending a path of action for the company,” she said.
She said she is very proud to be in a position where people come to her with questions about how the system works.
“That is something I am exceptionally excited to be a part of, and something I couldn’t do in private practice,” she said.
J.Y. Miller, a Husch Blackwell attorney, said Jones has “distinguished herself as an immensely talented attorney who is not content to stand on the sidelines when she sees an opportunity to make a difference.”
Jones is an advocate for legislative tort reform and dedicates time to pro bono work and serving on the board for the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“Molly’s tireless commitment and strong leadership truly set her apart and make her a rising star in our profession,” Miller said.