Lucinda Weiss has established precedents for women and for all of corporate America.
A 1973 graduate of the University of Idaho's College of Law, she is one of the first 50 women to be admitted to the Idaho State Bar. Throughout her 30-year career, she has clarified, promoted and exemplified the role of corporate counsel in establishing a culture of ethical conduct.
In 2006, Weiss received the University of Idaho's College of Law Faculty Award of Legal Merit. She received the award for a career of “shattering, shaping and sharing,” according to former College of Law Dean Don Burnett. During her three decades of law practice, Weiss has “shattered a glass ceiling, shaped a corporate culture of ethical decision-making and shared opportunities for professional achievement by mentoring a new generation of women in positions of leadership,” said Burnett.
As a student in 1972, she was the first woman at the University of Idaho to participate in Boise Cascade’s law internship program. In 1974, Weiss was elected prosecuting attorney in Bonner County. She was 24 years old, one of the youngest prosecutors in the nation, and one of only three women nationwide elected as county prosecutors that year.
In 1976, Weiss joined The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, becoming the first female lawyer in the tire industry. She later became the first woman appointed to head the law department of a Goodyear subsidiary. She also was the first at Goodyear, of either gender, to make the transition from attorney to executive management, serving five years as director of Goodyear’s real estate division.
As both an attorney and executive, Weiss took a leadership role in mentoring and promoting women in the corporate world. The career accomplishment of which she is most proud is not a legal accomplishment, but an organizational one. “I’m probably most proud of co-founding the Women’s Initiatives in Leadership, a 501c-3 we established to self-mentor women when cost-cutting curtailed executive development programs for women in our company,” said Weiss. “Its aim is to advance the development and deployment of women executives throughout Goodyear, worldwide. We set it up separately so it could never become a casualty of corporate cuts.”
Late in her career, Weiss was asked to return to the law and assume the direction of Goodyear’s ethics and compliance program. While ethics programs originally covered only key executives in the U.S., Weiss created a program that reached from the CEO to the shop floor. Her ethics program has been implemented in 66 countries, in 28 languages. In addition, she focused her law practice on international transactions and trade issues, and helped lead the development of a global customs compliance program.
Weiss also served on the university's College of Law’s inaugural Law Advisory Council. In 2003, the University of Idaho Alumni Association recognized her distinguished legal career with the Silver and Gold Award, which “recognizes living alumni who have a distinguished record of achievement and or service in their specialized area of endeavor, thus bringing honor and recognition to the University.”
She retired from Goodyear in 2004. That same year she was inducted into the Executive Order of the Commodores by the governor of Ohio. The induction recognized her outstanding contributions to the economic development of the state and quality of life of its citizens. It is considered Ohio’s most distinguished honor.
Weiss has been actively involved in charitable service to the communities in which she has lived and practiced law, first in Sandpoint, then in her hometown of Akron. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Buckeye Chapter, the Tuesday Musical Association and Westminster Presbyterian Church Session, and she holds emerita trustee honors from the Akron-Canton Airport, Old Trail School, the Junior League of Akron and several other boards.
“There is no single spot for you forever,” said Weiss. “I found the law to be as versatile as it needs to be for a life-long and fulfilling career. I went from small-town private practice to a global business practice and from law to corporate management and back to law again, changing specialties and practice styles many times along the way. In your education, the College of Law has given you the tools for change and adaptation. Adaptability is a vital skill set in our profession and in life because, to paraphrase the axiom, change happens.”