Jamie Lieberman Opens New Doors With Her All-Women Legal Team in Ad Tech

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Ten years ago, Jamie Lieberman started her own law firm. At that time, much of her work focused on monetization for content creators – long before the terms “influencer” or “influencer marketing” even existed. 

Then, about four years later, the universe allowed her to bump shoulders with Amber Bracegirdle (Mediavine Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer), and the two connected over personal and professional philosophies.

When Bracegirdle described Mediavine to Lieberman, the pair realized they had many of the same values, and helping content creators make money online was a core concept for both. Mediavine grew quickly, and it became apparent that it was time to bring the legal function in-house. Lieberman was honored when Mediavine asked her to join full-time as SVP and General Counsel. 

In her current role, Lieberman is responsible for all aspects of the company’s legal operations, including providing legal counsel and coaching on policies and procedures, intellectual property, contract negotiations, and compliance. She is Mediavine’s chief advisor in refining and enhancing corporate standard operating procedures with a focus on compliance to ensure Mediavine continues to provide innovative solutions, offerings, and services.

We talked to Jamie about running an all-women legal team at Mediavine and how she strives to promote diversity daily.  

Yakira Young: A small percentage of women run in-house counsel at tech companies. That percentage is even smaller for ad tech! At Mediavine, you run an all-woman legal team. How did that happen?

Jamie Lieberman: I started my law firm because I saw a problem in the Legal world that needed to be solved. I was a new mom who felt frustrated that I was being told there was no way to work full-time practicing law while being a mother. So, in response, I started a virtual law firm to do both without sacrifice. I think it naturally attracted other female professionals, not by design but because women found they could practice law, find support, and work in a balanced way.

In working as Mediavine’s external counsel, I saw how much the company cares about the health and well-being of its employees. When asked to join as in-house counsel, I knew the women from my firm transitioning with me would be well cared for in culture and benefits. We were really excited to keep the team together at Mediavine.

 YY: Since your start at Mediavine in December 2022, how have you helped implement positive change at the company?

JL: Mediavine really celebrates innovation, as evidenced by their ad tech. When I joined late last year, I wanted the company to experience that same innovation with regard to our legal department. I aimed to integrate our team so that legal was a welcomed partner in all business discussions. As lawyers, our role is equal parts counsel and education, and we set out to begin educating and meeting with employees to help them understand this. My team and I are here to collaborate across all business functions and streamline processes. 

The legal team has also centralized our contract management system and hired a new Director of Privacy and Compliance to create a new compliance program. We have made massive strides in a short period.

 YY: What are the core experiences from your career experience that helped prepare you for where you are in your career today?

JL: I didn’t begin my career practicing law, but I had a great mentor who suggested I go to law school. I worked while going to school full-time, so my work ethic was solid. Once I graduated, I began working at some large law firms. Through problematic encounters in those firms, I quickly realized what was missing in those working environments. I started to understand how vital a strong manager is to the growth of young attorneys. Before I started my law firm, I searched for an inclusive workplace that values its employees and had strong managers, but I could not do so.

This is a male-dominated industry, and unfortunately, in my first few jobs, I experienced all forms of harassment. I almost left the practice of law because of it. Still, instead, I’ve taken the negatives and have been able to use them as a learning experience so I could create a better working environment for my employees and be a better manager. I love practicing law, and when I started my firm and was able to remove some of these pain points, I began to love my job again. Joining Mediavine was a natural next step as the values of my law firm aligned with those here at Mediavine.

 YY: What unique challenges do you face as a general counsel in the ad tech industry?

JL: As general counsel in ad tech, I am often the only woman on an external phone call or meeting. It can be challenging to work in an industry when no one looks like you. To that end, my mission is to mentor others so they can find it in this field.

At Mediavine, the growth of our business has been extraordinary. Coupled with the fact that privacy laws are constantly changing, means my team and I need to be agile. We are lucky to work at a company that values innovation. It’s fun to solve problems and to be a part of this type of working environment that values diversity and collaboration. 

 YY: How do you ensure diversity and inclusion within your team and the company?

JL: I’ve dedicated over a decade to supporting and guiding content creators through my law firm’s work. Early on, I recognized that influencer marketing and content monetization on the web was critical to a free and fair Internet. I have used my legal expertise to help clients, usually women or underserved communities, understand the complicated and ever-changing content and privacy laws online. Mediavine also values helping small business owners create and maintain sustainable businesses; that type of inclusion resonates with me.

YY: What are the most pressing legal issues facing the ad tech industry?

JL: The most pressing legal issue facing ad tech is privacy compliance. The legal and regulatory landscape is constantly changing due to new laws and technologies. Because the internet is global, we must be aware of the constant updates to privacy laws, state-by-state regulations, changes to GDPR, and similar measures from international bodies. The size and speed of the programmatic ad space are immeasurable, so my team and I take Mediavine’s compliance very seriously. We are privacy forward and constantly dedicating more resources towards it.

YY: How does your legal team stay up-to-date on industry changes and developments?

JL: We prioritize involvement in industry events and trade groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau, International Association of Privacy Professionals, Association of Corporate Counsel, and Tech GC. My team and I actively carve out time to ensure we can attend educational events that align with our interests and department goals. Mediavine prioritizes investing time and energy in training, which is helpful in an ever-changing industry.

 YY: Can you walk us through your approach to balancing legal compliance with business goals and objectives? 

JL: I view the legal department as a key partner to internal stakeholders. Our job is to assess risk and to work collaboratively to balance compliance requirements with the needs of our business. Legal should never be a roadblock but instead one part of a larger equation in making larger business decisions.

 Education comes into play here too. Suppose my team is involved with new initiatives from the beginning and can have meaningful conversations with the right people early on. In that case, we can lead from a place of collaboration as we assess risk versus return. 

YY: What advice would you give to women aspiring to become general counsels or lead all-female teams?

 JL: It’s really important to be true to yourself. Know your strengths, and don’t apologize for trusting your instincts. Women have been experiencing Imposter Syndrome for decades, but you rarely hear men talk about it. Advocate for yourself!

 In addition to knowing and understanding yourself, having a group of safe, trusted people around you is crucial. Find a mentor. Surround yourself with people who support you and your strengths. Women connect differently in business, and that should be celebrated. We should lift each other up.