In this special report, The National Law Journal recognizes the Washington metropolitan region's top in-house departments, and their general counsel, in six distinct categories: overall excellence; outside counsel management; technology; diversity and quality of life; pro bono and community service; and corporate compliance.
Our overall leader, AOL Inc., is notable for its deal work: During the past six years, it has acquired more than 30 companies, including The Huffington Post. Last year, the department, led by general counsel Julie Jacobs, repelled a proxy battle, beat unpaid bloggers in court and achieved a $1.1 billion patent deal with Microsoft Corp. Also notable is Academi LLC, once known as Blackwater USA, which won in the corporate compliance category for its new in-house legal team, which worked to clean up the company's host of legal woes and create a new culture of compliance.
LEGAL DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR: AOL INC.
New York-based AOL Inc. has been all about the deals in recent years, and its Dulles, Va.-area legal department has been the engine behind them. Led by Julie Jacobs, general counsel and executive vice president for business development, AOL's 50-attorney department is one of the busiest deal-making shops in new media but its workload went well beyond mergers and acquisitions in 2012.
Legal Department of the Year Finalists
DYNCORP INTERNATIONAL LLC
PROSHARE ADVISORS LLC
OTHER CATEGORY WINNERS
Outside Counsel Management: AARP
Technology: AMERICAN CAPITAL LTD.
Pro Bono and Community Service: CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP.
Diversity and Quality of Life: DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS INC.
Corporate Compliance: ACADEMI LLC