Tips from the Inside

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