Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Tracy ’13L Jessica Tracy is General Counsel at video hosting, sharing, and services platform provider Vimeo.
Jessica Tracy ‘13L is originally from Bethesda, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2010, where she majored in philosophy and was captain of the women’s golf team. During law school, Jessica was a summer associate at Ropes & Gray LLP in New York and was an intern at the SEC in the division of trading and markets. After law school, Jessica joined Ropes & Gray and practiced there for six years, focusing on capital markets and M&A transactions. In 2019, Jessica joined Criteo, an advertising technology company, and then in 2021 joined her current company, Vimeo. Outside of work, Jessica enjoys golf, reading, spending time with her family, and trying new restaurants in New York City.
Discuss your career path and how it led you to working as General Counsel at Vimeo?
I started out as a corporate associate at Ropes & Gray, exploring a variety of transactional work from real estate to M&A. I quickly found passion for capital markets and working with publicly traded companies and honed my practice in on equity capital markets transactions such as IPOs and follow-on offerings, as well as M&A and corporate governance. During my fifth year at Ropes, I had the opportunity to complete a secondment at Pfizer, a client I had been working with at the firm. I spent seven months at Pfizer and got great first-hand exposure to what it means to be an in-house attorney. I loved that I had one client and I got to see the long-term impact of the work I was doing.
I returned to Ropes for another year to round out my training and experience, and then joined Criteo in September 2019. In early 2021, I was presented with a unique and exciting opportunity to join Vimeo as it was being spun-off from its former parent company, IAC. I joined Vimeo and worked closely with the General Counsel and the IAC team to complete the spin-off, and then took ownership of all legal matters pertaining to being a newly public company. Under the mentorship of our incredible former General Counsel, I was challenged and exposed to ownership of several new legal areas under the corporate umbrella. Then, in connection with our former General Counsel’s departure, in February 2023 I took over as Acting Co-General Counsel together with a colleague while the search for a permanent General Counsel began. Just recently in June, I was given the opportunity to serve as Interim General Counsel & Secretary of the Company, which speaks volumes to the values of the Company and its culture of promoting from within. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support, guidance and mentorship of several people throughout my career, from W&L all the way to Vimeo.
What sort of legal issues do you handle on a day-to-day basis?
Up until a couple of months ago, I was focused on any matters that pertain to a publicly traded company – governance, securities filings, board relations, etc., as well as M&A. After stepping into my new role, I’m overseeing a variety of legal issues from data privacy and product to commercial and regulatory.
What do you like about your current job?
It keeps you on your toes in the best way – there are constantly emerging and evolving legal areas that we need to think about and address, and we need to partner with the business leaders at the company to do that. I really enjoy the challenge of identifying the roadblock and figuring out a way through it. I believe that a strong legal team will not say “no” but will say “how about this instead?”
Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for this job?
I have always thought that the practicums and clinics during my third year provided me with invaluable building blocks for my legal career. In particular, I took an M&A practicum with practicing attorneys from a nearby firm and we simulated the negotiation and signing of a deal, including presenting the deal to a mock Board of Directors for approval. Getting exposure to the real-life work of an M&A attorney while having the safety net of a classroom was a wonderful experience. I also served on the Tax Clinic with Professor Michelle Drumbl – it was my first opportunity to get to work intimately with people in the local community, and it was extremely rewarding to get that hands-on experience and to know my work was helping people.
What advice do you have for prospective law students?
Relish the opportunity to learn and find your passion in law school. If there are classes you find particularly interesting or professors you particularly admire, take those classes and spend extra time with those professors…even if the areas don’t align entirely with what you think you want to do long-term. The professors at W&L are, in my opinion, one of the school’s biggest assets. They want you to succeed – let them help you!
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Outside of Work
“How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig
Favorite Travel Location