On the Road

ABA Annual Meeting 2016: What’s Next? Tech’s Top Counsel Reveal All

What do the in-house legal departments of Uber, Salesforce, and Oculus look for when hiring outside counsel? And, what advice do such high-profile attorneys have for advancing careers? The answers might surprise you. In this report from On The Road, host Joe Patrice interviews the chair and former chair of the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law, Cynthia Cwik and Heather Rafter, at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting.

The duo recaps the group’s ABA Annual Meeting session, titled “What’s Next? Tech’s Top Counsel Reveal All!” which featured speakers Uber GC Salle Yoo, Salesforce GC Amy Weaver, and Oculus Associate GC Amy Fox. In it, they reveal how today’s tech general counsels are working with outside counsel as well as what they expect from these external advisors. In today’s world, it’s not enough to notify your client of a problem, you must also provide possible solutions with that initial message. Tech GCs aren’t required to have a science background; attorneys with interpersonal skills and ability to communicate coupled with an adequate understanding of technology will also be considered.

Stay tuned as our guests talk about their (serendipitously) all-women panel and discuss diversity, work-life balance, the need to take risks for advancement, and the importance of exercise and mindfulness.

Cynthia Cwik is chair of the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law. In her practice life, she works at the San Diego Office of Jones Day as a litigator who has handled a variety of complex matters, including class actions, mass tort matters, consumer fraud actions, and product liability actions. She has extensive experience in cases involving issues of science and technology.

Heather Rafter is the former chair of the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law. In her practice life, she works at RafterMarsh US, a law firm that she started where she works as a part time GC to a variety of companies. Prior to that, she was a litigator for Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher LLP.