While many attorneys aspire to be a General Counsel, the path to becoming a company’s chief legal officer can be even more convoluted than becoming a partner at a law firm. Recently, it was my pleasure to host an engaging roundtable discussion about what it takes to become a GC – and what takes to stay there.Three outstanding general counsel participated: Deanna Sheridan, of Spartan Race, Inc., Melanie Goins, of Care.com, and Ben Kaplan, of Velcro.
Discussion topics included:
- How the role of the GC as a legal counselor and business advisor differs from that of outside counsel or an Associate General Counsel.
- The mentoring and skill development essential to becoming an institution’s Chief Legal Officer.
- What you must do as General Counsel to understand the company’s business and have the business people understand you.
A link to the webinar can be found here.… Keep reading
Last Thursday morning, the In-House Advisor convened a second video conference of General Counsel and Corporate Counsel to discuss how their businesses are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. As with the prior meeting, the in-house counsel present were from entities ranging from small, local companies, to large, multi-national enterprises. Here are some of the key takeaways from last week’s session:
Work from Home
- Don’t assume that because people are working at home everyone is available all the time
- People with small children have to take care of them; people with school-age children have to homeschool them.
- People with roommates may not be able to talk/video conference all the time
- Don’t assume that people who had been working at home part time can adapt any quicker and better than others. They were used to a different pace and working part time, so keep that in mind when you reach out to them.
- Everyone agreed that you have to put up boundaries from work so that you don’t burn out, but no one had a great way to do this as a practical matter.
- Video conferences are much more effective than telephone calls. People are more engaged and more get
… Keep reading
This morning, the In-House Advisor convened a video conference of 15 General Counsel and Corporate Counsel to discuss how their businesses are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. The in-house counsel represented were from entities ranging from small, local companies, to large, multi-national enterprises. As a lead-in to the roundtable discussion, a brief presentation was given by two crises management experts, T.J. Winck and Dan Cence, of Solomon, McCown and Cence. Some of the key takeaways from the presentation and roundtable discussion were as follows:
- One of the best ways to keep people in your organization calm is to repeatedly and consistently send out messages to everyone. You are better off saying too much than too little. Among other things, the in-house counsel attending said that their businesses are:
- Sending out daily emails that goes out to everyone with an update.
- Having “town hall” meetings with questions and answers once per week.
- Maintaining an intranet page with updated Covid information.
- Be sure to have at least one member of your Crisis Management Team constantly monitoring the CDC and WHO, as new information is constantly coming out.
- While everyone would like to think that the situation
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In this installment of The In-House Advisor, we interview Paul Igoe, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Excelitas Technologies Corp., a Waltham, MA-headquartered manufacturer of high-performance, market-driven photonic innovations designed to meet the lighting, optronic, detection and optical technology needs of customers worldwide. Excelitas has 20 facilities worldwide and approximately 7,000 employees.
Prior to joining Excelitas in August 2018, for five and one-half years, Mr. Igoe served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of SS&C Technologies, Inc., a Windsor, Connecticut-headquartered provider of financial software and services. From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Igoe was Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Lydall, Inc., a Manchester, Connecticut-based manufacturer of filtration media and thermal/acoustical products. From 2001 to 2009, Mr. Igoe served as Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary to Teradyne, Inc., a manufacturer of automatic test equipment for the semi-conductor industry headquartered in North Reading, Massachusetts. Previous to his employment at Teradyne, Mr. Igoe was a Junior Partner in the Boston office of Wilmer Hale.
The In-House Advisor: What do you see as the main focus of your role as in-house counsel, and how do you see that role evolving over the next few … Keep reading
In this installment of The In-House Advisor, we interview Bill Gabovitch, General Counsel at Primark U.S. Corp. Primark is a fast-fashion retailer, based in Europe, with 350 stores in 10 countries. The company’s first U.S. store opened three years ago – in the former Filene’s space at Downtown Crossing, Boston – and it now operates nine stores in five Northeast states. Bill is a former associate general counsel at Staples, a former associate at two Boston law firms, and a graduate of Indiana University and the University of Pennsylvania School Of Law. He lives in Newton, MA, with his wife Lauren and their daughters Rebecca and Naomi.
The In-House Advisor: What do you see as the main focus of your role as in-house counsel, and how do you see that role evolving over the next few years?
Bill Gabovitch: Overall, the value that an in-house counsel brings to the table is in how much he or she helps the business achieve its objectives with the lowest reasonable risk. Sometimes that involves helping on a transaction or a strategy, or choosing the right way to deliver the company’s products or services to the market, after properly assessing for … Keep reading
In this installment of The In-House Advisor, we interview Mark Bowers, Division Counsel and Senior Director at Samsung Pay, Inc., Samsung Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service that enables users to make payments using Samsung phones and other mobile devices. Mark’s role involves overseeing all of Samsung Pay’s legal needs, including contracts, compliance, litigation, HR support, real estate, management of the IP portfolio, marketing, product development, among other things.
The In-House Advisor: The role of in-house counsel has changed a lot over the years. How do you see that role changing going forward and how can today’s in-house counsel prepare for those changes?
Mark Bowers: The more things change; the more things stay the same. While underlying technology and methods of communication have changed, the role of in-house counsel has largely remained the same. We are here to provide cost-effective and timely legal support while mitigating the overall risk profile for the company.
IHA: While in-house counsel routinely save their companies money, Legal Departments generally are viewed as cost centers that add nothing to the bottom line. How can in-house counsel get across to the business people the value that in-house lawyers add … Keep reading
In this installment of The In-House Advisor, we interview Stacey Constas, Senior Corporate Attorney / Corporate Governance Officer at Standex International Corporation, a global manufacturer of industrial components and food service equipment, trading on the NYSE. In addition to serving as the Chief Governance Officer, Stacey manages all employment, product liability, litigation and environmental compliance for the corporation. She also is a corporate generalist, conducting acquisitions and divestitures, and assisting business divisions with a wide variety of commercial, contractual and legal issues.… Keep reading
In this installment of The In-House Advisor, we interview Neal Winneg, who was most recently the General Counsel of Jumptap, Inc., a mobile advertising company, until its sale to Millennial Media, Inc. After starting his legal career at Skadden Arps, Mr. Winneg has been an executive officer and general counsel of numerous public and private companies, including The Learning Company, Upromise and The Princeton Review. Mr. Winneg also teaches in the Transactional Law program at Boston University School of Law.
The In-House Advisor (IHA): The role of in-house counsel has changed a lot over the years. How do you see that role changing going forward and how can today’s in-house counsel prepare for those changes?
Neal Winneg (NW): It’s not news that advances in technology over the last 20 years have created extraordinary opportunities along with concomitant challenges for virtually everyone, both in business and our personal lives. So, too, for in-house counsel. Our businesses are becoming more agile and automated, and they are benefiting from vastly more and better data in virtually all functions. The challenge for in-house lawyers associated with this trend has been the need to handle substantially more complex and technical legal requirements and … Keep reading
In this installment of The In-House Advisor, we interview Keith Wexelblatt, Associate General Counsel at Reebok International Ltd. After being in private practice for 5 years, Keith joined Reebok as in-house counsel in 1998. In his present role, Keith manages the litigation and employment work for Reebok and various of its affiliates. In addition, he oversees all the legal work for, and leads the HR department of, Montreal based Reebok-CCM Hockey.
The In-House Advisor (IHA): The role of in-house counsel has changed a lot since you first went in-house. How do you see that role changing going forward and how can today’s in-house counsel prepare for those changes?
Keith Wexelblatt (KW): In-house practice has changed dramatically in my 16 years while at Reebok. Attorneys must now manage issues with less internal resources and follow directives to utilize outside firms to a lesser degree as cost concerns play an even bigger role in the decision-making process. You must assume even greater risks, but still maintain an ability to distinguish between knowledgeable risk-taking actions and recklessness. Also, the amount of change in technology, social media and legislation insures rapid and constant change, which places extra burdens on keeping abreast of these … Keep reading