Home » In-House Counsel Awards » 2020 In-House Counsel Awards: Urmila Paranjpe Baumann

2020 In-House Counsel Awards: Urmila Paranjpe Baumann

Health care organization

Associate Chief Counsel, Cigna

Urmila Paranjpe BaumannAt the forefront of innovation in health care and handling complex corporate litigation, Urmila Paranjpe Baumann is fulfilling one of her parents’ dreams.

“My parents encouraged me to choose a career where I would be intellectually challenged every day,” Baumann said. “Mission accomplished.”

Baumann will be the first to tell you that her role as associate chief counsel for Cigna challenges her to learn about new areas of law, work in new areas of business and navigate the constantly evolving health care industry. She manages a complex, multimillion-dollar litigation portfolio for this Fortune 25 health care company. Her work involves overseeing partnerships with law firms and litigation support vendors to provide the best litigation support possible for Cigna. She also works with the company’s public relations team to respond to media inquiries concerning litigation.

Her career began as a litigator with Husch Blackwell, where she spent eight years working with larger corporate clients. She joined Express Scripts, one of those clients, in 2012. When Cigna acquired Express Scripts in 2018, her role expanded to managing the entire litigation portfolio for Express Scripts. Today, she thrives in the interplay between esoteric legal concepts and practical business realities.

“Every case and every assignment presents an opportunity for me to grow as an attorney, as a person and as a business colleague,” Baumann said.

Managing a remote virtual workforce while also managing a household and two young children has become Baumann’s greatest professional accomplishment for 2020. She manages a team of four litigation attorneys and four litigation support personnel, all of whom she describes as being at the top of their game.

“My team is sticking together and making it through these turbulent times,” she said. “And Cigna is amazingly supportive for all [of its] employees.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Baumann and her husband are both working from home while raising their two daughters. She readily admits that her 6-year-old is better at Zoom conferences than she is.

Their 2-year-old is adopted, and Baumann is a huge proponent of adoption. She encourages everyone who can to consider adopting or fostering a child and/or to donate to reputable organizations that serve children waiting for adoption or foster care. In 2019, she served as a board member for the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in St. Louis.

If she hadn’t chosen law as a career, Baumann said she would have been a French teacher. Describing herself as a true Francophile, she immerses herself in the language, art, culture and cooking of France. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from Saint Louis University, as well as a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago.

Baumann said she appreciates every confirmation she receives from her business clients who let her know she is helping them achieve their goals and succeeding in her chosen career.

“My work with Cigna is a very good fit for me because I’m balancing intellectual legal challenges with business realities,” she said. “My business clients are smart and savvy. They challenge me to do my best work. When they’re happy, I’m happy.”