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Tall In the Saddle
When he was a boy working summers as a cowboy and picking crops on the Texas-Mexico border, RICARDO ANZALDUA never imagined that one day he would be the top lawyer at one of the world's largest insurance companies. Anzaldua grew up in Pharr, Texas, a town so close to Mexico that it is connected to the Mexican city of Reynosa by a bridge. The 59-year-old attorney, who came late to the study of law, is now in charge of the legal department at MetLife Inc., the largest life insurer in the United States.
"I wasn't a great cowboy,"Anzaldua says. "But I knew if I wanted to do something else, I needed to get educated."
After graduating at the top of his high school class, Anzaldua went off to Brown University, where he majored in Latin American Studies . Thinking he would pursue a career in academia, he then enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of California at San Diego. But three years into his graduate studies, he realized he did not want to be a history professor. "When I was 17 years old, I was a community organizer in South Texas, and I realized I wanted a profession where I could have more influence on policy," he says. So he took a job at the Center for U.S.Mexican Studies.
There a visiting fellow encouraged him to go to law school, explaining that there are law firms that advise foreign governments on development and economic issues, just the kind of work he wanted to do.
Anzaldua attended Harvard Law School, then went straight to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. "I'm probably the only lawyer who knew which law firm I wanted to go to before I even entered law school," he says.
At Cleary, where Anzaldua eventually became a partner, his first assignment was advising the Kuwaiti government-in-exile following the 1990 Iraqi invasion. He went on to join the team that advised the Mexican Ministry of Finance on the NAFTA negotiations.
But in 2006, after 17 years with the firm and countless trips to Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America, Anzaldua decided to move in-house. He landed at The Hartford Financial Services Group, eventually becoming associate general counsel and senior vice president. (In 2009 Corporate Counsel named The Hartford's legal department the best in-house legal department of the yearin part for its handling of the challenges brought on by the financial crisis that broke the previous year.)
"Challenges are what I crave and love about being a lawyer," Anzaldua says. "I came to MetLife because of the need to tackle tough questions here."
Anzaldua, who did not begin his legal career until the age of 36, succeeds NICHOLAS LATRENTA, who retired after 43 years with MetLife. In his new post, where he oversees a staff of more than 1,000 lawyers, compliance officers, and government affairs and public policy specialists, he will have to convince regulators that MetLife does not pose risks to the financial system and should not be designated too big to faila label that would require more regulatory burdens, he says. Another focus will be helping MetLife expand globally as the company strives to move into emerging markets.
Anzaldua will continue to work pro bono as the GC of the International Institute of Rural Reconstructiona nonprofit oriented to community and economic development in some of the world's poorest areas. He is also on the board of directors of the Greater Hartford Legal Aid Foundation. And he remains focused on promoting diversity, both in the company and elsewhere something he has done ever since he founded the Latino Student Organization in college.
Anzaldua also worked on diversity issues at Harvard, and was chair of the diversity committee at Cleary Gottlieb and cochair of the diversity committee at The Hartford. He continues to play a big role in Latino alumni groups at both Brown and Harvard. "I remember when the only work I could get in South Texas was in the fields, because I was a Mexican American in a place where all the power was held by Anglos," he says. "It's important in a global organization and also just in the interest of justice and fairness that people understand that opportunities should be based on merit and on a willingness to contribute."
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Confidence in Government
STACIE PITTELL is charting new ethics territory in the District of Columbia. In December she became the first general counsel for the District's recently formed Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA), which enforces the code of conduct for all D.C. employees. "People look to their local government to provide services for them," Pittell says. "They need their government to be honest, to show integrity in serving the public and providing those services."
At BEGA, Pittell will supervise a staff of investigators and attorneys, conduct ethics training for District employees, and draft advisory opinions. The job dovetails with her deep-seated interest in working for local government.
Pittell most recently served as assistant inspector general for investigations in the District's Office of the Inspector General. Before that, she logged 15 years in the New York City Department of Investigation in a variety of roles, including as an attorney and as a supervisor of investigations.
One of Pittell's most memorable cases involved a long-running bribery scheme in the city tax assessor's office. Her department teamed with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
"The scheme had a huge impact on the city because it affected tax assessments, particularly of large commercial buildings, which really affected the tax base," Pittell says. "We got back a decent amount of money, but nowhere near what it had cost the city over the decade the scheme had gone on."
In 2008 Pittell relocated to the Washington, D.C., area. She liked that the District's inspector general's office had the same focus and goals as New York's Department of Investigation. But when the opportunity arose to work with BEGA, she was drawn to a department that has a new role to fill in local government. The agency had its first official meeting in July 2012.
With its freshly minted jurisdiction over enforcement of the District's code of conduct, BEGA can issue penalties beyond the scope of other agencies. "We have the ability to investigate code of conduct violations, and can sanction the person regardless of whether or not there was criminal and/or administrative action," she says.
Pittell earned her J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University. She also holds an M.A. in English from Brooklyn College (CUNY), and a B.A. from the University of Rochester.
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She Covers the Earth
CATHY KILBANE is continuing her in-house creative streak: The new general counsel of The Sherwin-Williams Company joins the paint maker from greeting card firm American Greetings Corporation, where she served as GC for nine years. She replaces LOU STELLATO, who retired at the end of 2012 after 31 years with the company.
Both Sherwin-Williams and American Greetings are based in Kilbane's hometown of Cleveland, where she attended Case Western Reserve University as an undergraduate and earned her J.D. from the university's school of law.
Kilbane went on to join Baker & Hostetler's Cleveland office, where she worked for 16 years, most recently as a partner in the corporate group. "I worked with a lot of companies for whom intellectual property, technology, and brand equity were important revenue drivers," she says of her time with the firm.
That's also where she got early lessons in the value that attorneys bring to creative "intangibles": "As a lawyer you can give creators that sense of ownership by obtaining a patent or a trademark or licensing one and creating a revenue stream from it," Kilbane says.
Intellectual property was a core focus for Kilbane at American Greetings, which, in addition to its namesake cards for birthdays and other occasions, also owns the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake, as well as Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus, two "social expressions" lines (to borrow the industry lingo). The company's legal department often worked with writers and artists there, Kilbane says. "The consumer is always going to be looking for fresh, engaging products that surprise and delight her," Kilbane explains. "We worked a lot with the creative talent to make sure that legal could institute a process that very quickly gave them approval on any issue, such as intellectual property or First Amendment issues, so that they could get those cards to market very quickly."
Fostering talent in her own department is also a top priority for Kilbane . "I'm a big advocate of developing talent through training," she says. Kilbane will continue to focus on IP at Sherwin-Williams. Cleveland is home to the Fortune 500 paint manufacturer's Breen Technology Center, where 300 scientists and researchers work on research and development. "As a female GC" and the mother of two daughters, ages 4 and 8, Kilbane notes, "I was very impressed that over one-third of these scientists and researchers are women."
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The Proactive Approach
U.S. Bancorp is counting on JIM CHOSY to manage its legal affairsagain.
Chosy, who was general counsel and secretary of investment bank Piper Jaffray Companies prior to the new appointment, is returning to Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp to serve as its new executive vice president and general counsel. In his earlier stint with the company, Chosy was associate general counsel with U.S. Bancorp from 1995 until 2001.
"What's old is new again," says Chosy, a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. "I loved working at the bank during the first go-round, so it feels like home." Chosy succeeds LEE MITAU, who is retiring after having served as the bank's general counsel since 1995.
Chosy joined Piper Jaffray, which at the time was owned by U.S. Bancorp, in 2001. It was spun off as a separate company two years later.
This is not the first time that Chosy's career has been affected by Mitau, whom he considers a friend and mentor. When Chosy graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School, he went to law firm Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis, where Mitau was a senior partner. When Mitau left Dorsey to join U.S. Bancorp, he recruited Chosy, who had only recently taken an in-house job at another company. And when Mitau started contemplating retirement, Chosy was one of the people he tapped for consideration for the job. "I've basically been following Mitau since 1989," Chosy says.
While the new GC says he is joining a legal department that already has an excellent staff in place, he acknowledges that he faces tough challenges. One of his primary tasks will be to help the bank navigate the regulatory environment. Regulators, he notes, are still focused on the financial industry after the banking crisis, and new banking requirements are still being considered. "The banking industry has gone through a lot, but there seems to be no letup in sight," he says. "I want to take a proactive approach, help the company anticipate what's coming next, and figure out how to succeed in whatever new landscape may loom ahead."
Chosy is active in advising the board and helping with fund-raising at his law school alma mater, where he not only received his J.D. but also met his wife. He currently chairs the law school's board of advisers and works with the administrators and faculty on strategic planning. He also mentors students seeking to enter the legal profession. Last year the University of Minnesota's board of regents awarded Chosy the 2012 Alumni Service Award. Chosy is also on the board of the Guthrie Theater, currently serving as treasurer.
"The bank has a strong legacy of community service, so this work dovetails nicely," Chosy said. "I like to be challenged, and I like to serve, so I'm confident I'm in the right place."
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Purdue University has appointed STEVEN SCHULTZ to be its first-ever in-house legal counsel. As manager of Purdue's legal function, Schultz will advise university president (and former Indiana governor) Mitch Daniels and the board of trustees, and he'll oversee the provision of external legal services.
For more than 130 years, the Lafayette, Indiana, firm Stuart & Branigin has served as the neighboring university's primary legal counsel. In a memo sent to faculty and staff, Daniels said that the adoption of an internal legal counsel model is "now the general rule among major U.S. universities." (The firm will also continue to advise the university.)
The change comes at a time of increasing faculty frustration with the status quo. J. Paul Robinson, chair of the University Senate, said in an email to Corporate Counsel that the faculty has become concerned about what appears to them to be "runaway" legal expenses. According to Purdue spokesman Chris Sigurdson, the university has made $6.8 million in payments to Stuart & Branigin over the last three fiscal years. Schultz says that bringing "oversight of the legal function a little closer to the internal decision-making process" was a goal of hiring him as in-house counsel, adding that cost controls were a perceived benefit of making the change.
Schultz is taking the position at Purdue after concluding a stint as the VP and first-ever general counsel of Southeastern Indiana Health Organization, and a seven-month appointment as special adviser to the State of Indiana on the Ohio River Bridges Project. He was also previously executive director of the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority.
Schultz earned his bachelor's degree from Butler University in 1988, majoring in history and political science. He has a J.D. from Yale Law School and an LL.M. from the University of Cambridge.
After graduation, the Indiana native practiced corporate law at Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis and worked in the London office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where he specialized in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, and capital markets financings. Schultz joined Irwin Financial Corporation in 2001 and became general counsel in 2004. He served as then-governor Daniels's first chief legal counsel from 2005 to 2006, before returning to Irwin.
The lifelong Hoosier says he was honored to be offered the position at Purdue. "It's a world-class institution," he says, "renowned for its reputation, research, and educational rigor, and the high caliber of its people."
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Southwest Airlines Co.'s MARK SHAW has been given a recent job upgrade. The longtime company lawyer was promoted in February to general counsel, replacing MADELEINE JOHNSON. The outbound GC retired after nearly five years with the airline.
As vice president and GC, Shaw will take the department controls on all legal issues, including litigation, labor and employment relations, regulatory matters, and corporate transactions.
Shaw joined Southwest's legal crew in 2000. Early in his career he was heavily involved in transactional work, including technology licensing and aircraft leasing. His promotion to associate GC of corporate and transactions in 2008 put him closer to the board and CEO at Southwest. Shaw copiloted the acquisition of AirTran Holdings Inc. in 2010.
Shaw was already familiar with the aviation industry before he arrived at Southwest. As a lawyer in the Dallas office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, he helped establish an aviation practice at the firm. And after more than a decade at Dallas-based Southwest, he knows his way around the legal department. "I know who to go to and how to get things done," he says.
Southwest is the nation's largest discount airline. During the economic downturn, Shaw says, Southwest has "clearly fared better" than its competitors, in part thanks to the course set for the airline by founder Herbert Kelleher. "His philosophy from the beginning was to prepare for bad times," he says. The company just realized its fortieth consecutive year of profitability.
Moving forward, the new GC says that keeping costs down will continue to present the biggest challenges for the industry as a whole. "Fuel is obviously a huge issue," he says. By helping the company avoid risk and exposure, Shaw says, the legal department can do its part to control costs. He'll also make handling legal work in-house a priority. Shaw, an Austin native, earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas in his hometown. He first became interested in law while covering cops and courts as a reporter for the Amarillo Globe News . He went on to earn his J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law.