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At Home Abroad
When CHRISTOPHER STEPHENS took a position in the Hong Kong office of now-defunct Coudert Brothers in 1996, he and his wife thought their move abroad would be temporary. "We didn't hang curtains for the first four years," says Stephens, who has been in Asia ever since. The recently appointed general counsel of Manila's Asian Development Bank (ADB) now calls the continent home. "Our children were born here, the best legal work in the world is here, it's a fascinating and invigorating place to live," says Stephens, "and we've put down roots."
Stephens comes to the multilateral financial institution from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he was a partner from 2005 through the end of last year. His practice focused on project development and finance, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity transactions across the region. Stephens also previously worked in the region for Breed, Abbott & Morgan, which became Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan after the firm's merger with Whitman & Ransom in 1993.
ADB's new GC says the breadth of projects, clients, and target countries he encountered in private practice gave him plenty of varietybut not as much as he'll see at the bank. "Whether through investment in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems, or through helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources," Stephens says, "the mission of ADB is quite different from that of any commercial enterprise with which I had worked."
The bank, which now has 67 member countries, was established in 1966 to facilitate economic development and alleviate poverty across Asia. Recent projects include an $800 million road-building project to bring crucial services to isolated communities in India, and a $300 million investment in energy-efficient electric tricycles in the Philippines.
Stephens says he was drawn to the audacity of ADB's vision for a "poverty-free Asia Pacific." ADB has a unique role to play in the region, Stephens says. "As impressive as the growth and development has been over the last 20 years in the Asia Pacific region," he says, "the sustainability of that growth depends on the breadth and depth of the development opportunities."
As the bank's GC, Stephens will manage 42 lawyers in a legal department that is spread out across 16 countries. He will have primary responsibility for counseling the bank's president, board of directors, and board of governors on legal matters. The office of the general counsel advises ADB management and project teams and supports the public and private sector operating departments of the bank, as well as its internal administrative functions.
Stephens majored in political science and economics at Colgate University, earning a bachelor's degree in 1981. He graduated cum laude from New York Law School in 1984. At ADB he succeeds JEREMY HOVLAND, a longtime ADB lawyer who retired last year.
Stephens has been "deeply struck by the quality and commitment" of his new colleagues, he says. "At every level and in every department, we have focused, earnest, and dedicated professionals and support staff eager to do their jobs well."
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Sweet Tooth for Tech
When it comes to technology and the law, it's all geek to SEAN RADCLIFFE, the new general counsel of Ciber Inc. As a college freshman in 1987, he was the first guy in his fraternity to have his own personal computer. And in November, he took up his first general counsel post, at the global IT consultancy, which is based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. He takes over from former GC SUSAN KEESEN.
Radcliffe is porting over from information services company IHS Inc., where he served as chief legal counsel and chief compliance officer. Before that, he worked as a senior attorney for telecom company WilTel Communications."I am, at heart, a geek," says Radcliffe.
The Boulder native majored in English at Oklahoma State and earned his J.D. from the University of Tulsa College of Law. He clerked at Tulsa firm Pray Walker during law school.
Between his time at Pray Walker and his associate years at Conner & Winters in Tulsa, "I really got to see all aspects of the business world," he saysfrom acquisitions and IPOs to litigation and bankruptcies.
Radcliffe's long-standing interest in technology has guided his practice. As the Internet took off in the mid- to late- nineties, he says, "I began to develop a niche as the guy who could talk to the small start-up companies." Though he doesn't claim to be an IT guru, "for a civilian, I can run with the concepts and understand the language."
For a brief time, Radcliffe ran his own start-up-oriented practice, Fogdog Legal Counsel. After the dot-com bubble burst, he redirected his career path in-house when WilTel general counsel David Newsome, a former Conner & Winters partner, brought him in to the communications company's law department. At the time he started at WilTel, the telecommunications industry was reeling from a sudden abundance of bandwidth capacity left behind by the many tech enterprises that shuttered in the early 2000s.
Working on WilTel's own bankruptcy restructuring proved a career highlight. The legal team helped turn the company around under "classic crucible" conditions, Radcliffe saysa series of dynamic, high-pressure negotiations and litigations: "It was one of the best experiences of my legal career."
For his next act, Radcliffe joined IHS, a technology information company "that was basically reinventing itself." In 2005, a year into his tenure as a securities lawyer at IHS, the firm went public. His role evolved to encompass the company's intellectual property portfolio; he also doubled as chief compliance officer.
"Every business needs to define what it means by 'compliance.' It's not something that can be assumed," Radcliffe says. "There is no standard out there that fits every business and every industry."
Radcliffe believes that while in-house lawyers can advocate for change, their ideas stand a better chance when senior business leaders get behind them. "The idea is to advocate for something in a way that allows it to become someone else's idea," says Radcliffe. "That's a success."
At Ciber, Radcliffe already knows where he has his work cut out for him: finding more cost-effective ways to deliver legal services to the business. "For the past five years," he says, "our industry has been focused on the billable hour versus value billing." But Radcliffe says that the billable hour is only the "symptom" of a larger disconnect, which is that in-house counsel and outside counsel aren't aligned on incentives.
"It's going to take not only better relationships, but new forms of relationships with our outside counsel," he says.
Meanwhile, he's excited about learning the ropes from his new colleagues. "Ciber is in the business of helping its customers deploying new technologies," Radcliffe says. For someone with a lifelong love of technology, he adds, "this is like being in a candy store."
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Return to the Fold
When VINCENT O'ROURKE JR. graduated from the College of the Holy Cross back in 1969, he hardly envisaged overseeing the legal affairs of his alma mater one day. But the 65-year-old attorney has now answered the call to be Holy Cross's general counsel.
"I never presumed this is where I would land," O'Rourke says. "But I feel fortunate that I was selected for the job."
College of the Holy Cross is a four-year coed liberal arts institution founded in the Jesuit tradition of the Catholic Church. Holy Cross, based in Worcester, Massachusetts, has about 2,900 students. It is ranked among the nation's leading four-year liberal arts colleges. Its illustrious alumni have included several high-ranking elected officials and also the Reverend Philip Berrigan, a leading peace activist of the 1960s.
O'Rourke has done work for the college in various capacities since 1981, when he joined the local firm of Bowditch & Dewey, and had served as acting general counsel for about five months prior to being named to the position full-time. He also served as secretary of the board of trustees from 1998 to 2000.
O'Rourke says he will see a change in his focus: "I expect to be handling more transactional work than litigation," he says, "but there will probably be something new every day." He looks forward to working in an academic setting and being around students in a friendly and supportive environment. "It's a Jesuit school, so there is also a mission of service to others," he says.
O'Rourke participated in some landmark cases surrounding higher education early in his career, including Bakke v. Regents of the University of California and Davis v. Southeastern Community College.
The South Orange, New Jersey, native majored in political science at Holy Cross, where his years of study briefly overlapped with those of future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, although they did not know each other. He received his law degree in 1972 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. He then clerked for Judge Irving Goldberg in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
After that, O'Rourke worked as a judge advocate in the U.S. Navy from 1973 to 1977, serving as a trial counsel with the First Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California, "defending Marines in court-martials," he says. He was also an instructor in military justice at the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island. "I didn't come from a military background, but it was a great experience," O'Rourke says. "There were top lawyers therea lot of lawyerswho chose to work there instead of fight in the Vietnam War."
From 1977 to 1981 O'Rourke worked in the appellate section of the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He then returned to Worcester to work at Bowditch & Dewey. He was chairman of the firm's litigation practice group from 1989 to 2010, then became the firm's general counsel. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and has lectured on education, litigation, and risk management issues.
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What do egg incubators, trampolines, and top-loading washing machines have in common? Models of all three have been recalled in recent months by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC, an independent agency of the federal government, is charged with protecting the public from risks associated with the use of a wide range of consumer products. Since December, STEPHANIE TSACOUMIS has been calling the CPSC's legal shots. In her new role as general counsel, Tsacoumis will advise the agency's commissioners, coordinate petitions and rule-making, pursue civil penalties and administrative lawsuits, and enforce federal safety standards.
Tsacoumis replaces CHERYL FALVEY, who left the CPSC to join Crowell & Moring in Washington, D.C.
The agency and its new GC will have their work cut out for them. According to the CPSC, deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost Americans more than $900 billion each year. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act increased funding and staffing for the agency in 2008, after a rash of product recalls. Legislation passed in 2011 expanded the agency's authority, and Tsacoumis says it has been "engaged in a heavy diet of rule-making" ever since. She anticipates that one of the biggest challenges of her new role will be supporting the CPSC's enhanced enforcement focus in the year ahead.
Tsacoumis comes to the federal government from Georgetown University, where she served as vice president and general counsel from 2009 through 2012. She was responsible for all of the university's legal and compliance matters, including litigation, IP, and federal contracts and grants. Tsacoumis was also an adjunct professor at Georgetown's law school. She will continue to teach a course on disclosures under the federal securities laws at Georgetown.
Before going in-house, Tsacoumis spent 13 years with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. She represented nonprofits and public and private entities at the firm, and for six years she served as co-partner-in-charge of its Washington, D.C., office. Previously Tsacoumis was a partner at Morrison & Foerster.
Tsacoumis earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the College of William and Mary and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. She completed executive programs at Harvard Business School and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
The new GC's father spent his entire career as an employee of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "Every night he came home with incredible stories," she says. "He had the best job on the planet." When the opportunity came along to follow in her father's footsteps and become a federal employee, she took it. "I don't have a background in product liability," she says, "but the agency's mission of protecting public health and safety appealed to me."
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Viva La Raza
JONATHAN SCHWARTZ 's distinguished career has been almost as varied as the popular Spanish-language show Sabado Gigante. So perhaps it is fitting that his most recent move is to Univision Communications Inc.the Spanish-language media company that is home to the long-running Chilean entertainment, game, and talk show.
As Univision's new general counsel, Schwartz succeeds C. DOUGLAS KRANWINKlE, 72, who retired after serving as executive vice president and general counsel at the company for 12 years, the culmination of a 47-year career.
The move to Univision is a big shift of venue from his last job, as managing director and general counsel of J.P. Morgan Investment Bank. But in a sense the 51-year-old attorney is going home again: Before joining JP Morgan, he was executive vice president and general counsel at Cablevision Systems Corporation for six years. And prior to that he held various roles, including that of senior vice president and deputy general counsel, at Time Warner Inc. Schwartz also spent time on the music side of the entertainment industry, serving as GC of the online music company Napster.
Schwartz's career goes well beyond media companies, however. For five years he was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. He then joined the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked for Attorney General Janet Reno and thenDeputy Attorney General Eric Holder.
Earlier in his career Schwartz had been a clerk for Judge Harry Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and also for Justice Thurgood Marshall on the U.S. Supreme Court. He's been a notably high achiever since student days. Schwartz graduated first in his class from Stanford Law School in 1986 after receiving a bachelor of science degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. He was also a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University, where he earned a master's degree in international relations.
Schwartz, who is based in Univision's New York headquarters and reports to company president and CEO Randy Falco, is also listed as a member of the boards of the Legal Aid Society, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the National Center for Law & Economic Justice.
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Liberty or Death
Can you be employed, yet also at Liberty? You can when, like RICH BAER, you're working at Liberty Interactive Corporation. In late November Baer was named the new general counsel of the diversified digital commerce business.
The Duke University Law School and Columbia University graduate was previously general counsel and chief administrative officer of Denver-based Qwest Communications International. In 2008 his legal team was named Law Department of the Year by Corporate Counsel. Baer was credited with helping to rescue the company when it was on the brink of bankruptcy, and he was later recognized for helping to orchestrate its 2011 sale to CenturyLink Inc.a deal that required the approval of 40 state and federal regulatory agencies.
More recently, Baer served as executive vice president and chief legal officer at UnitedHealth Group Inc., where he oversaw the company's legal, regulatory, and compliance matters. Prior to that he was chairman of the litigation department at the Denver law firm of Sherman & Howard.
Baer, who blogs occasionally for Corporate Counsel, has called himself "the accidental general counsel." The one-time litigator has said he never intended to be a general counsel when he set out on a legal career. He started out as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn.
"Rich brings an extraordinary breadth of experience to Liberty from his time at UnitedHealth, Qwest, and Sherman & Howard, and in fact, he represented Liberty while in private practice," Liberty president and CEO Greg Maffei said in a statement. He succeeds CHARLES TANABE, who retired after 14 years as Liberty's general counsel.
Liberty consists of two groups: Liberty Interactive Group operates several e-commerce businesses, including Evite LLC and QVC Inc. Liberty Ventures Group holds interests in such companies as AOL Inc., Expedia Inc., Time Warner Inc., Tree.com (Lending Tree), and TripAdvisor.