In part one of our interview with Terry Miller, the general counsel of the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, she told Corporate Counsel reporter Sue Reisinger about the six years, 32 lawyers, and more than 25,000 contracts involved in getting the Games up and running. (In the interest of disclosure, Miller and Reisinger were University of Dayton Law school classmates in the mid-70s, and Reisinger worked with Miller’s British-born husband, Jonathan, at the Dayton Daily News.)
For part two, Miller and Reisinger discuss security, the Paralympic Games, and Miller’s equestrian dreams.
Corporate Counsel: In the days and weeks leading up to the games, what was your work schedule like?
Terry Miller: There was always a continual drumbeat of deadlines—Beijing [the 2008 games] was a big deadline for us. We did contracts for our handover team involved in the ceremony in Beijing. There were major deadlines for when we got the logo out, and for when we ran test events in every single venue the year before the games.
CC: Security was a big issue; what was your role in that?
TM: Security was always a concern. Ever since the July 7 bombings in London, it was front and center. From a legal perspective, we assisted with negotiation and verification with security providers. The government had overall responsibility for security, and we had responsibility for private sector providers. It was to be a blended resource pool, but G4S [the private provider] had significant failings. We worked closely with the government to deploy more army personnel to fill the gap. G4S accepted responsibility for paying the additional costs. We withheld all remaining payments since Games time, and are in the process of negotiating a settlement with them to make sure we don’t pay for anything we didn’t get.
CC: I understand you presented awards to British equestriennes in the Paralympics. Why?
TM: All directors were invited to participate in the Paralympic medal ceremonies. I chose the equestrian ceremonies because I’ve been involved with a group of disabled riders for years, and I was also part of the Greenwich venue team, which is the amazing place where the equestrian events took place. The winner, Sophie, has serious cerebral palsy and I got to give her flowers. It was a hugely emotional moment for me. I knew all the work she had done to get there.
CC: You made a presentation to a deaf Paralympics rider; did you learn sign language just for the Olympics?
TM: We offered language lessons and sign language courses because the organizing committee has the most diverse groups I’ve ever seen in a company. Here I’d go into meetings and be the only person not in a wheelchair. Once you hit a certain threshold, no one notices it in quite the same way. I worked with someone who used sign language, so I took the course and got my level-one qualification. When I presented the winning rider with flowers, I did some very simple signing to say I loved her performance, and I thanked her for it.
CC: Have you enjoyed being an in-house counsel more than being in private practice?
TM: I did all three: starting in government, then private practice, and then in-house since 1989. I do like being in-house. It gets you much closer to the business. In LOCOG, we had no offices, just desks. The elements that I just find really attractive are the closeness to what everyone is doing and being able to share that. It would be hard to go back to private practice after being in-house for some time.
CC: Your full-time Olympics post ends in December and then you work part-time until June. What will you do then, try again to raise your equestrian level?
TM: I think that time has passed. I haven’t done as much eventing as I wanted. I love all three parts—dressage, show jumping, and going cross-country over obstacles. It is so much fun, and there’s a great partnership with the horse. I am soon to finish a course for being a qualified instructor. I have one more test to take in the spring. Now that’s more of what I want to do—breeding and have other people ride my horses.
CC: How many horses do you have?
TM: I have five-and-a-half, with a foal born in July. Two horses still compete, and one never did. Two others I regularly competed but now are quite elderly, like 21 and 19, and we mainly just hack out and remember our past glories. And then Jonathan has two Percherons we use for the carriage.
CC: Do you regret giving up competitive riding to work more than six years on the Olympics?
TM: Oh, this is a job you would never pass up. I love sports; there are few I won’t watch. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and it will give me memories forever.