THE CLOROX CO. OFFERS PRODUCTS THAT IT SAYS MAKE EVERYDAY
life better, every day. And Laura Stein, executive vice presi-
dent and general counsel of Oakland, California-based Clo-
rox, challenges her legal team to do the same by learning new
facets of the business and finding better ways to work every
day. She calls it the “continuous improvement initiative.”
Stein includes herself in that mandate.
The GC, who speaks six languages, made herself learn
about a new business and its accompanying federal regulations when Clorox acquired a probiotics company in the
spring of 2016.
It was a unusual move for a company best known for its
iconic bleach and cleaning products, Glad plastic bags, Fresh
Step cat litter, Kingsford charcoal, K.C. Masterpiece barbecue sauce, Hidden Valley salad dressings and other well-known household brands; and a challenging lesson for the
general counsel, who has spent 20 years at Clorox, but not
continuously. She worked eight years as a Clorox in-house
counsel and assistant GC, then five years at H.J. Heinz Co.,
which hired her to be general counsel, and the last 12 years
as GC at Clorox.
Stein says she loves being a general counsel and spends
her days “trying to stay five steps ahead” of the latest legal
problem. Her legal team’s biggest success, she says, is being a
proactive, trusted partner to the business units.
“Our hallmark is partnering with business,” she says. “The
global legal implications of doing business today gives us a
seat at the table” when major business decisions are made.
For example, she says members of the legal team co-lead
Clorox programs on global privacy, cybersecurity, enterprise
management and more. The lawyers are also “committed to
trying to drive change in our profession to make it better,
including pro bono work and efforts to increase diversity in
Stein herself chairs the national Leadership Council on
Legal Diversity, a group of more than 265 corporate legal
officers and law firm managing partners dedicated to creating
a diverse legal profession. The Clorox legal team also walks
the walk and is 75 percent diverse under American Bar Association standards that include ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and people with disabilities.
In addition. Stein serves on the Clorox executive committee, chairs the Clorox women’s employee resource group, and
co-sponsors the company’s social responsibility and enterprise
BY SUE REISINGER
CLOROX’S LEGAL TEAM PARTNERS WITH THE BUSINESS SIDE FOR A SPARKLING 2016
BEST LEGAL DEPARTMENTS 2017