Meet Corporate Counsel Hilary Vollmer '99
Like Heldman and Marmer, Hilary Vollmer was also born in the Queen City and grew up here. She attended Colgate University in central New York, where she received her undergraduate degree in history. After graduating, Vollmer moved to Atlanta; while she was there she began contemplating a career in law school. “I decided to apply to one school,” she said, “and if I got in, I was going to law school.” Vollmer chose to apply to UC Law because of its small size and personal atmosphere, which she had valued in her previous educational experiences.
Vollmer was accepted for the 1999 class. She split her first summer, first studying international law in Italy and then returning to Cincinnati to work at the newly opened office of Baker & Hostetler. During her second summer, Vollmer returned to Baker’s Cincinnati office, which was fully operational by that time. Upon graduation, she continued at Baker as an associate, where she worked as part of the corporate group. Early in her career, Vollmer took a risk and chose to create for herself a sub-specialty in Internet and technology, which at the time was somewhat uncommon. Her venture paid off, however, because about one-third of her practice involved doing work for clients involving technology.
Then about eight years ago, Vollmer moved to Kroger as corporate counsel. She enjoyed corporate law generally, and believed that she would enjoy being part of an in-house team, which contrasted somewhat with the law firm’s structure. Kroger happened to be looking for a corporate attorney who would be able to focus on technology and assist the company’s IT department. The position was ultimately a good fit between Vollmer’s interests and qualifications and the company’s needs.
Vollmer is currently serving as in-house counsel for Kroger. As such she confronts a variety of issues according to the company’s needs. “A majority of my work involves contracts and transactional work,” she explained, “but I also provide support to the IT department, work closely with the fuel department and with advertising, marketing, and Internet groups, interact to some extent with government agencies, manage some litigation, and work in a few other miscellaneous areas. A significant part of my job also consists of providing general advice when clients want to bounce ideas off of a lawyer.”
Vollmer emphasized that she truly enjoys the experiences her job provides. The various situations in which the company utilizes its in-house counsel allows her to gain knowledge and experience with regard to many different areas of the law, as well as different areas of the company’s inner workings. Additionally, being in-house counsel allows for the lawyers to become a part of the client's business unit team.
Vollmer also stated that she is glad she decided to return to Cincinnati. She indicated that she stayed because, although many prospective corporate lawyers may not realize it, there are many sophisticated businesses here—in addition to the Kroger Company. “The businesses provide lawyers an opportunity to work on really interesting and sophisticated projects that aren’t available in all cities of this size.” Vollmer has continued to show her appreciation for the city by giving what little free time she does have to various community organizations, including ProKids, the YWCA, WE Lead, and other leadership and development programs. She also enjoys riding horses and spending time with her family and friends.”
By Lindsay Mather '11