Teresa Wilton Harmon is the managing partner of Sidley’s Chicago office and a partner in the Global Finance practice area. Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer jointly honored Teresa at the inaugural “50 Women in Law Awards,” and The National Law Journal named her a “Trailblazer in Finance and Banking.”
“I was inspired by a few other women partners who came before me and by my mentors at the firm—including terrific men who wanted women to succeed.”
What attracted you to the practice of law and what aspect of your practice do you enjoy the most?
There were no other lawyers in my family, so my impressions of law came from TV shows and studying business law in undergrad. Now that I am a lawyer, I appreciate the breadth, sophistication and thoughtfulness of my law practice. I love attacking a problem and finding a solution. And I particularly appreciate the teamwork and collegiality I find in our firm, with our clients, and professional organizations.
Tell us about a professional goal you are proud of achieving, and what (or who) inspired you to go for it.
I am really proud of making partner and succeeding as a partner while also being an active mom of three kids. I was inspired by a few other women partners who came before me and by my mentors at the firm—including terrific men who wanted women to succeed. I made the journey with amazing friends who were trying to do the same thing and with my very supportive husband.
What is the most memorable deal you led and what made it so memorable?
I was a junior partner. I got a call at home on Good Friday from my two favorite banker clients. They were teaming up for a $36 billion complex student loan financing, and they wanted me to run it. I loved the magnitude of it and really loved that they called me to do it.
On a personal note, what has been your go-to self-care activity in this remote work environment?
Family dinners with my husband and teenagers. Walking in my neighborhood or by the ponds at the old McDonald’s campus in Oak Brook, IL. Streaming comedies. Jane Austen.
Can you share with us a saying or quote that gives you inspiration or helps you stay centered?
Lately it’s two simple words: thank you. Practicing gratitude has really helped me during the pandemic. I have been amazed by all the ways people have stepped up to this challenge. I am grateful for them, grateful for an opportunity to serve, and grateful for all the support I receive every day.