Francesca Cardillo's energy and ability to connect with those around her enliven the ChiWIP community and her practice at K&L Gates LLP. For ChiWIP, she serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Mentoring Circles Committee. At KLG, where she is an Associate in the firm's Technology Transactions practice group, Francesca has been at the forefront of data protection compliance as the effective date for the California Consumer Privacy Act nears. She also handles negotiations related to technology transactions, particularly with regard to Software-as-a-Service agreements, and M&A due diligence. She first became interested in intellectual property when she was required to take a copyright law class for her joint J.D. and Master of Library Science program at Indiana University. She has focused on IP ever since, and her practice has ranged from general IP matters to IP licensing and technology transactions.
Francesca's Master of Library Science degree often comes in handy, as her research skills allow her to quickly analyze and tackle new issues. Her outgoing personality and interpersonal skills also set her apart, allowing her to develop meaningful relationships within her organization, her communities, and with clients.
Another key strength is Francesca's focus on her professional wellness. "I take special care to manage my stress and wellbeing," she says, which allows her to do her best work for clients, and which she hopes will allow her to have a long and happy career in the legal profession.
Francesca will embark on an exciting opportunity this November: a six-month secondment with a KLG client, a Seattle tech company, where she will focus on drafting and negotiating technology transactions and product development counseling. She looks forward to expanding her understanding of her clients' business considerations, as well as cultivating new relationships and representing her firm.
Additionally, Francesca recently led one of KLG’s monthly meetings for its Women in the Profession group—an internal affinity group for KLG’s women attorneys—and played a key role in initiating a new policy for those meetings. As a result, KLG’s Women in the Profession meetings now begin with 5 minutes for women at every level to share their recent accomplishments. "As women, we don't get enough practice tooting our own horns," says Francesca, "and we don't see what accomplishments look like up and down the chain at varying levels of seniority." She hopes the new policy will help her and her colleagues get more comfortable with sharing their successes more broadly, which she sees as key to advancement.
Francesca is also proud to serve on ChiWIP's Board. "To be recognized by my peers to join the leadership for this organization—I'm very proud and honored by that," she says.
Promoting the Success of Women
Promoting women in the legal profession and in general is a core value for Francesca. "There's room at the table for everybody," she says. She touts the accomplishments of other women whenever there is an opportunity to do so, and assists women in furthering their achievements through her commitment to mentoring. "I never want to see another woman struggle with the same things I struggled with," says Francesca. She helps other women in the profession informally, by making herself available for honest, safe, and confidential conversations, and by sharing her own stories so others don't feel isolated in their experiences. She also supports formal mentoring programs through her role as Co-Chair of ChiWIP's Mentoring Circles Committee.
Francesca loves fitness and exercising, and serves as an ambassador for a SweatLife, a Chicago media company that promotes community and achieving one’s best life through fitness. They often host "sweatworking" events, and Francesca has made goods friends in different industries, in different parts of the city, and from different backgrounds at many of those events. "It's a very special organization," she says, because the focus is all about members supporting each other in achieving their goals.
Francesca's other interests include frequent trips to Walt Disney World, where she used to work; her puppy, Potluck, who she and her fiancé adopted this summer; and playing Dungeons and Dragons, a new hobby that she's excited to explore.
Meet some of our other ChiWIP members here!
Do you have someone you would like to nominate for a member spotlight? To nominate or to share your own success story, please fill out the form here.