"Scott is very smart and has significant transaction experience," Gilluly says. "He knows his way around a deal, having been involved in a number of private and public transactions."
For trademark issues at both Convio and Blackbaud, Kerr has turned to Gail Taylor Russell, a partner in Austin's Taylor Russell & Russell.
"I think he has really excellent judgment," Taylor Russell says. "For example, if we had a trademark infringement matter, he would ask questions in terms of: 'What is the situation, what is the law in this area, what are our options, and what is your recommendation on these things?' " she says. "And then he would make sure he understood the ramifications from the business point of view in terms of: What happens if the matter goes forward? What happens if we win? What happens if we lose?"
Blackbaud works with 27,000 organizations "[p]robably every charity you can think of," Kerr says.
In addition to securities matters, Kerr makes sure Blackbaud complies with state, federal and international privacy laws. Kerr also handles the company's channel partner strategy, negotiating and maintaining contracts with consultants that provide services to nonprofits.
"We are very legitimately helping very worthwhile organizations do things much more efficiently and better, and our cause is to help them with their causes," Kerr says. "It's a nice feeling to know that the deal you're working on, and the business you're ultimately assisting, is doing great things through 27,000 different organizations out there."
Best Practices: Know the Business
Scott Kerr was vice president and general counsel of Austin-based Convio Inc. when it was acquired in June 2012 by Charleston, S.C.-based Blackbaud Inc. He is now deputy GC of Blackbaud.
Texas Lawyer research editor Jeanne Graham emailed Kerr some questions about best practices. His answers are below, edited for length and style.
Texas Lawyer: What's your best advice for transitioning from one industry to another?
Scott Kerr: From the moment you know you are going to make the transition, do as much research about the company and its products, market and competitors as you can, and then continue this after joining. Once you have joined, it is critical to identify knowledgeable people within the organization who will be willing to spend time with you getting you up the [learning] curve and answering specific questions as they come up. Internal clients within the organization will greatly appreciate seeing counsel try to understand the business and not just focus on legal issues in isolation.