Zoe Baird's Briefcase Is Brimming With Ideas

Soon after becoming general counsel at Aetna Life & Casualty Co. last year, Zoe Baird was named a lead negotiator in an antitrust suit waged against Aetna and six other insurers. She seemed an odd choice. Soft-spoken, with a polite, gracious manner, Baird had little experience in insurance matters. The case had dragged on for three years, frustrating seasoned insurance lawyers and threatening the underpinnings of the industry. But Baird settled the case in three months. "The stumbling block had been forming a consensus," says James W. Walker Jr., general counsel at CIGNA Corp., one of the other defendants. "She was particularly impressive in helping reconcile differences."

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