Six years out of law school, Daniela Ivancikova, ’10, has already logged an ambitious professional journey, practicing at law at a firm, at a state agency and as in-house counsel.
Ivancikova is currently assistant general counsel for AAA Club Alliance, Inc, the parent organization of AAA chapters that aid travelers with everything from trip planning to road-side assistance, insurance and more. There, she supervises two attorneys, manages outside counsel and provides advice on policies, processes and programs from procurement methods to a cybersecurity incident response plan.
The job represents a fulfilment of Ivancikova’s dream of working in-house.
From the start, Ivancikova pursued a wide portfolio of opportunities: she gained experience as a summer associate at Astra Zeneca (her 1L summer), completed a co-op placement at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and her 2L summer at White and Williams.
Ivancikova credits her diverse experiences in law school and the mentoring she received from faculty for the offer she received from White and Williams, the first stop on her professional path, and preparing her for subsequent moves.
“From the Private Equity course all the way to Constitutional Law courses and Employment Law courses – all of that was extremely helpful,” Ivancikova said.
At White and Williams, Ivancikova put the many things she’d learned about transactional law to work as she counseled clients on complex transactions.
But after a year at the firm, Ivancikova felt that she needed litigation experience, so she ventured to the Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey. As a deputy attorney general, she represented the state at oral argument in a case of first impression, defended state firearms carrying laws in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, represented the state Department of Education before a federal court and filed more than 40 briefs with the Superior Court Appellate Division. She also served as counsel to the Department of Education State Colleges and Universities and to the state Board of Examiners.
Three years of litigating on behalf of the state provided keen insights about building strategies in court, while advising public agencies groomed Ivancikova for the role of an advisor.
Going in-house became the next logical step, Ivancikova said, while denying that a “master plan” was afoot.
“It follows some trajectory,” she conceded. “That’s not to say that I haven’t gotten lucky.”
Noting that she took a significant pay cut to work for the state of New Jersey, Ivancikova said her career path reflects an overriding aim.
“I wanted to become a good lawyer,” she said, “to be the best that I can wherever that is and to be well respected for the good judgment of a lawyer, whether it’s in-house or for the government.”
As if Ivancikova didn’t have enough credentials on her resumé, she joined the adjunct faculty, teaching Risk Management and Assessment as well as Corrections Law in the law school’s online Master of Legal Studies program.
“I feel like I’m learning as much as I’m teaching,” she said.
The mother of two young children, super-achieving Ivancikova said she is grateful to have a husband willing and able to tackle tasks that elude her.
“I can’t say I do a very good job at grocery shopping,” she said.