Since 2017, Verónica Gómez, ’94, has been senior vice president of regulatory and energy policy and general counsel at Commonwealth Edison, the company that delivers electricity to more than four million residential and business customers throughout northern Illinois. In addition to serving as the company’s top legal official, she oversees some of its most fundamental business functions, including regulatory policy and strategy, rate setting, and power procurement.
“About 80 percent of my responsibilities now are business-related, rather than a more narrowly legal role,” she said. “If you had asked me when I left the Law School whether this would have been the kind of work I’d be doing, I would have said there was no way—and at the same time I can say in retrospect that my time at the Law School was excellent preparation for doing it.”
Before taking on her current role, Gómez worked for more than nine years at ComEd’s parent company, Exelon, concluding her tenure with more than four years as the company’s deputy general counsel for litigation. She was a partner at Neal Gerber & Eisenberg for about a year before Exelon hired her, and before that she was at the boutique litigation firm Schopf and Weiss for 12 years, beginning right after her graduation.
“Schopf and Weiss was a great place to start my career,” she recalled. “There were twelve lawyers when I joined—several of them UChicago grads—and the vision of the founders was that a small firm, effectively managed, could efficiently and successfully handle complex business litigation. I got to do really compelling work very early. I also started learning something about what it means to run a business, because the firm practiced complete transparency about every aspect of its finances, and we were all expected to understand that information and have something to say about it.”
Beyond the ample demands of her career, Gómez and her husband—Jeff Bushofsky, ’94, who she met at the Law School—have three children, and she also makes time for civic service. She is the current board president of the Chicago Bar Foundation, and she is a trustee of Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Chicago Zoological Foundation.
She grew up not far from Chicago, the daughter of Cuban immigrants. Her father had left school when he was 12 years old to help support his family. “One of the hardest adjustments for me at the Law School was not really on the academic side—although there were times when that was surely challenging—but interacting with people who came from generations of professional work,” she said. “However, we had a wonderfully close-knit class that dissolved virtually all of the boundaries that might have come between us. I might not have been sure what to wear when a law firm partner invited a group of us for dinner on his yacht, but I felt like I was in the right place surrounded by the right people, and I knew I was developing the right skills to become an effective lawyer.”
Now, leading an organizational unit that has more than 100 attorneys and other experts in the disciplines that report to her, the foundational skills that propelled her legal career have translated into the business skills that she applies at the top ranks of a large and complex enterprise: “Seeing what’s at the heart of an issue, weighing the consequences of possible courses of action, authentically listening to others’ perspectives and clearly presenting your own views—those are things I did every day as a lawyer, and they’re things I now do every day in my business roles,” she said. “For that matter, they’re things I try to do every day as a parent, and in my board positions and many other settings. They’re universal principles for being effective at whatever you do, and I’m grateful to the Law School for making sure that we learned them well.”