Facebook GC: a great hot seat

Speculating on who will succeed Colin Stretch as the next general counsel at Facebook is our idea of fun water cooler talk.  Corporate Counsel quoted several law department focused legal recruiters for a public version of just that.

I am so enamored with this topic that I chose to elaborate on my opinion here: The Dream GC job.

We title my eNews column “Culture Fit” with intention.  To me, what makes in-house recruiting so much more enjoyable versus law firm recruiting is that each company has truly unique qualities:  different products, services, and cultures.  And while I love all of it, I find myself particularly interested in companies that are run by their founders.  I even pay attention to that dynamic when making personal stock choices.  With obvious exceptions (yes, I lost money on Groupon to be sure), my investments in founder operated companies have far outperformed other investments.  But I digress.

The takeaway here is that Culture Fit is not the same as Culture Change.  Sometimes the latter is needed.  But 100% of the time, CEOs want a general counsel (i.e. Consigliere!) who will align with his or her vision for the company.  And when the CEO is also the company’s founder, then you can add bold typeface over 100%.  

Evers Legal is not handling the Facebook search.  It’s my ultimate “I wish,” as one downside of staying small and independent is that we lack the kind of contacts and high profile placement history that would allow us to get in the door and compete for it.  So, I will watch this one from the sidelines.  But it does motivate me to up our game so to speak.  I am going after more GC-level work in 2019.  Let’s see how David does versus Goliath.  Stay tuned.

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday season, Mike

2019 starts on heels of record placement year

Thank you for making 2018 the best year in the history of our firm. We were pleased to serve a variety of outstanding companies from multiple industries this year, including:

  • Global chemical distribution leader – Univar
  • For-profit education pioneer – Adtalem
  • America’s favorite helpful place – Ace Hardware
  • Food distribution giant – US Foods
  • The #1 parking company in the United States – SP+
  • Faster than fast growing Internet platform innovator – Ubiquiti Networks

Our engagements featured traditional direct hire placements with base salaries ranging from $185,000 to more than $300,000. Our most common engagement term was a $10,000 retainer, applied toward a contingency success-only fee equal to 25% of base salary. We find the modest retainer creates a meaningful partnership and commitment, while maintaining a healthy outcome-based model for achieving win-win results. More 

Going in-house: Advice from the top

For young lawyers looking to land a senior in-house counsel position at some point in their careers, there’s no better source for advice than today’s law department leaders.

Each year, we interview experienced general counsel from a variety of industries, and we always ask them: What advice would you give a young lawyer who wants to be a GC someday?

Here’s a roundup of the suggestions our 2018 GC profile participants had for aspiring senior in-house counsel: More 

D. Cameron Findlay, GC at ADM

In middle school, D. Cameron Findlay got one of the most interesting assignments of his young life. His sixth grade teacher tasked her class with writing an autobiography. But the students had to write it from the future—looking back on their long lives and fruitful careers. Findlay didn’t hesitate when he scribed a few pages about his accomplished legal career, which included snagging a US senate seat, but only after successfully graduating from the revered Harvard Law School.

“I don’t know how I came up with it,” Findlay says. “I didn’t know any lawyers and I honestly have no idea how I had ever even heard of Harvard Law School. … And anyway, I was only half right.”

While Findlay may not have pursued a career in politics, he’s no stranger to success. Growing up in a loving Midwestern home, his parents—a dentist and former social services worker—encouraged Findlay to pave a path to happiness, both personally and professionally. After graduating from high school in his hometown (and mobile home/recreational vehicle manufacturing capital of the world) of Elkhart, Ind., Findlay headed to Northwestern University. More 

Another “conversion” hire

Congratulations Ricky Kalra!  Ricky has been working long-term via Evers Legal as an Adjunct Counsel with US Foods.  We just learned that Ricky will be hired directly by US Foods and we could not be happier for him.  He worked hard in a contract role, he was patient, and he is now being rewarded for both.

This marks the 6th time in 2018 that an attorney who started as an Adjunct Counsel via Evers Legal has been hired directly by our law department client.  The lingo in our world for this is a temp to perm conversion.  We are careful to never promise such an outcome when someone pursues an Adjunct Counsel assignment via Evers Legal.  But here is, indeed, more evidence that sometimes it’s a very effective way to get one’s foot in the door.

As a reminder to our clients, we have a singular focus:  placing attorneys (and attorneys only) with corporations.  We do not handle law firm work.  Within this singular focus, however, we do offer two service lines:  traditional direct hire search, at the highest General Counsel level to specialized non-managerial level hires, AND on-site assignment placement.  For the latter, our attorneys are fairly paid W2 benefits eligible employees, giving you the flexibility to add talent to your law department without adding to your payroll.

Congrats Ritu Vig

Congratulations Ritu Vig for joining SP+ as its new Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel.  SP+ is a $1B+ publicly traded leader in parking and transportation services, based in Chicago.

Ritu’s background includes senior level in-house positions with R.R. Donnelley & Sons and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, prior to which she did her BigLaw teeth cutting at Katten Muchin and Dykema Gossett.  She holds an MBA from The University of Chicago and a JD from Illinois.

Evers Legal is grateful to SP+ for the opportunity to handle this search.

Assistant General Counsel / Commercial Litigation

Evers Legal has been exclusively Retained by Ubiquiti Networks (Nasdaq: UBNT) to recruit an experienced in-house litigation attorney to create and lead a litigation management role, with the stated goal of implementing best practices for outside counsel engagement, litigation cost control, and strategic oversight.

This position will be based in Chicago, reporting to the Chicago based Chief Legal Officer of the company.  You will enjoy executive level interaction and have a chance to make a meaningful difference in the company’s bottom-line.

Ubiquiti Networks is a lean business with a laser focus on designing best in class IT products.  80% of the company’s employees are engineers, and the right candidate will thrive in an entrepreneurial culture.

The winning candidate will have a track record of implementing litigation best practices and cost controls for a corporate law department.  Respectfully, we are not interested for this position in candidates for whom this would be the first in-house move from a law firm. The winner does not need an IT background.  We are open to candidates coming from unrelated industries or larger companies.  Significant litigation oversight and management is the key criteria.

Interested candidates, please start with an inquiry email or resume send to:  mike@everslegal.com.  Thank you.

Career Advice Roundup

Mike pens a monthly career advice column in Corporate Counsel magazine.

Check out his most recent columns in Corporate Counsel (law.com) covering some law students heading down the road less taken, lawyers receiving and appreciating constructive criticism, and whether in-house counsel should get an MBA.

If you have any topic ideas you would like to see addressed in a future column, please send ideas and suggestions to cflahardy@everslegal.comMore 

Specialists in Highest Demand

We feature John Albright in this issue’s General Counsel profile. I was in the audience on Sept. 12 when John participated in an “Institute for the Future of Law” panel discussion on law department talent.

The discussion focused on the skills lawyers need to develop for success in-house. Themes included adaptability, personal re-invention, use of technology, project management and working as part of cross functional teams. The program made several references to the distinction between a 20th Century “I” shaped lawyer and a 21st Century “T” shaped lawyer. Essentially, “I” shaped lawyers have deep expertise in one area, whereas “T” shaped lawyers embrace process change and take a broader multi-disciplinary approach to their roles. ABA’s article, “The 21st-Century T-Shaped Lawyer,” does a good job of discussing this topic, one that is very popular among legal consultants.

John embraces innovation, but he also understands the value of expertise when it matters most. With a grin, John said he still goes to the “thousand dollar an hour lawyer” when it comes to broker/dealer advice (mission critical to his business). More 

John Albright: Chief Legal Officer for Hub International

John Albright spent the early part of his childhood living all over the world. An army brat, he moved every few years—which forced him to be outgoing and constantly make new friends. Albright made his last childhood move from Australia to North Carolina when he was in the fifth grade, finally setting down roots.

As a student, Albright excelled in math and science throughout his formative years. He graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology. Right out of school, he went to work for Shell Chemical Company, selling plastics into the automotive and transportation industries. It was there that Albright had the opportunity to work closely with and get to know some of the lawyers in Shell’s legal department—and he realized, he might find the work rewarding.

Having traveled a lot with his Shell job, Albright got to know—and fall in love with—Nashville. So when it came time to pick a law school, he set his sights on Vanderbilt. “It was a laid back city, and the school had a strong recruiting pipeline, so it made sense,” he said. More