Podcast category: General Counsel

In-House Legal

Cybersecurity in Regulated Industries with AMEX GC Laureen Seeger

As a naturally competitive person, Laureen Seeger thrived throughout her career as a litigator. After law school, she clerked and was offered a job in the Atlanta-based law firm of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP. In the South during the 1980s, there were virtually no women in courtrooms and she had to fight hard for first chair privileges. 14 years later, she went in-house and eventually became general counsel at McKesson, a massive healthcare supplies provider. Now she is general counsel of American Express in another highly regulated industry requiring strong cybersecurity measures. So what advice does she have to offer from her experience as GC for these two major companies?

In this episode of In-House Legal, Randy Milch interviews Laureen Seeger about her path to AMEX, industry regulation and cybersecurity, and the importance of brand trust. It is important, she says, for small- and medium-sized firms to invest in security measures, which often involves educating staff on encryption and best practices. Seeger discusses the regular audits American Express administers to their third party affiliates, the benefits and downfalls of cyber insurance, and how her department prepares the AMEX board of governors with the cyber security  information they need to govern properly. She explains how cyber breaches can be much more expensive than periodically assessing business environment, putting protections in place, fishing internally for employees that need training, and encrypting information.

Laureen Seeger is executive vice president and general counsel of American Express Company, a position she assumed in July 2014.  As the corporation’s chief legal officer, Seeger oversees the law, government affairs and corporate secretarial functions for American Express and its subsidiaries. Prior to American Express, Ms. Seeger served as executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer of McKesson Corporation and was with the Atlanta law firm of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP from 1992 to 2000.

In-House Legal

Google GC Kent Walker on Internet Disruption and Censorship

As we all know, the internet continually disrupts society on a global scale. It has become a platform for the international exchange of ideas and, more importantly, brought hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty. But with this disruptive platform comes challenges of safety and security, access to information, and censorship within multiple legal systems. How can we appropriately apply the legal standards and expectations from every country in the world to the internet which is, by nature, an international platform?

In this episode of In-House Legal, Randy Milch interviews Google Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker about his path to general counsel of Google and the current legal challenges the multinational technology company faces. Walker examines internet disruption and censorship and talks about how Google approaches the legal balance between personal privacy and the government’s need for access to information.

Walker begins by talking about his path through the U.S. Attorney’s office, AirTouch Communications, Netscape (which became AOL), eBay, and then ending up in his current position at Google and how different sources of training gave him the experience to be a successful general counsel. Through his history in tech companies, he has interacted with the evolution of information law in privacy and defamation, jurisdictional questions, intellectual property definitions, the limits on patents and copyright, and new questions about antitrust in a digital economy.

Milch and Walker then transition into a discussion on threats arising to the internet as it is today. As Google is intimately involved in the balance between necessary encryption and government access to information, Walker discusses how his legal department approaches this fine line. Discussion inevitably turns to censorship and the “right to be forgotten,” a misnomer actually meaning the right to be delisted from the search engines. They talk about self-censorship within tech companies like Facebook and Twitter, collaboration in Silicon Valley after the Snowden Revelations, and the international goal of access to information and freedom of expression.

As general counsel and senior vice president for legal, policy, trust, and safety at Google, Kent Walker is responsible for managing Google’s global legal team and advising the company’s board and management on legal issues and corporate governance matters. Before joining Google, Walker held senior legal positions at a number of leading technology companies. Earlier in his career, Walker was an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the United States Department of Justice, where he specialized in the prosecution of technology crimes and advised the Attorney General on management and technology issues.

In-House Legal

Insights from 3M GC Ivan Fong about Embracing Opportunities

Ivan Fong, senior vice president for legal affairs and general counsel of 3M Company, started in an unusual place for an attorney: as a chemical engineer with undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT. He attended Stanford Law School and subsequently built a distinguished career from a big law partnership to senior in-house positions in some of America’s finest legal departments. These positions were all punctuated by stints of public service at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. So what advice does he have to offer lawyers looking to build a successful in-house career?

In this episode of In-House Legal, Randy Milch interviews Fong about the course of his legal career, how his time in public service set him up to go in-house at General Electric, and how he charted his course internally at such a big company.

Topics include:

  • Fong’s decision to switch from engineering to legal
  • Clerkships for Judge Abner J. Mikva and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
  • Why he started in big law after law school
  • Choosing the right company over a specific subject matter
  • Appellate work, ecommerce, and patent litigation
  • Fong’s position as Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Legal doctrines concerning unlawful conduct and the internet
  • Moving in-house at GE and then becoming GC at Cardinal Health
  • Doing pro bono work as a general counsel

Ivan Fong is senior vice president of legal affairs and general counsel of the 3M Company. In that role, he oversees all legal, compliance, legal policy, and government affairs matters for the company. He was recently named one of America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel by the National Law Journal. Prior to joining 3M in October 2012, Ivan served for over three years as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In-House Legal

Thomson Reuters’ Deirdre Stanley: Being Interested and Getting Ahead

Despite not being 100% sure of her desired practice area when she graduated from Harvard Law School, Deirdre Stanley, now general counsel of Thomson Reuters, was certain of two things: she wanted to work in business and wanted to do so in New York City.

During her tenure in Biglaw doing mergers and acquisitions, Deirdre found her calling working alongside in-house counsels. She realized that in order to advance, she would need to diversify her experience, so when the opportunity to head business development at USA Network came up, she took it. That off-path experience eventually paved the way for an offer from Thomson Reuters to head their legal department.

In this episode of In-House Legal, host Randy Milch interviews Deirdre Stanley about her path to the top. Together, they discuss her background, pivotal decisions along the way, and how being interested in multiple disciplines is the key to high level positions. Tune in to hear her advice for lawyers in today’s market and about her daily duties to maintain a free press worldwide.

Deirdre Stanley is the executive vice president, general counsel, and board secretary at Thomson Reuters. Prior to her current role, she held various legal and senior executive positions, including deputy general counsel at IAC (previously USA Networks, Inc.). From 1997 to 1999, Deirdre served as associate general counsel for GTE Corporation (a predecessor company to Verizon), where she headed the mergers and acquisitions practice group. She currently serves as a vice chair on the Board of Trustees of the Hospital for Special Surgery and is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the Executive Leadership Council.