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David Meltzer is general counsel and senior vice president for regulatory affairs at D.C.-based Intelsat. The legal department has eight attorneys, and Intelsat’s U.K. subsidiary has one attorney. Meltzer also oversees the import/export compliance, corporate affairs, and regulatory affairs groups. What does your company do? Intelsat is the world’s largest satellite communications company. We own, operate, and lease capacity on 24 communications satellites that are used by people in over 200 countries and territories. Using satellite capacity leased from Intelsat, our customers throughout the world provide telephone, television, corporate networks, and Internet services. Intelsat has about 950 employees working in over a dozen countries. In fact, we employ people who are citizens of about 70 different countries. How did you come to this job? In 1989, I was a junior attorney working at a law firm with approximately 30 attorneys in its Washington office. As the firm was going through some difficult times, I started looking at the help wanted ads in Legal Times and elsewhere, and responded to an ad posted by Intelsat. By virtue of some work I had done as a law clerk for the World Bank legal department while enrolled in the evening division of George Washington University’s law school, I was familiar with some of the issues Intelsat was then facing. In addition, my former colleagues at the World Bank knew some of the people in Intelsat’s legal department and helped me get my foot in the door. After seven years in the legal department, I was promoted to a management position in the procurement department, which buys communication satellites, launch services, and other goods and services. After a couple of years there, learning a lot about the business from a nonlegal perspective, I led Intelsat’s privatization effort, and was named as the general counsel in 1999. How does this job compare with being in private practice? I enjoy a proactive approach to the law more than a reactive approach. Working for a company as an in-house lawyer, I am often called upon to prevent fires. In private practice, attorneys are often called upon to put out fires. Also, in a law firm, a lawyer is less exposed to the business operations of the client. Working for a company, the in-house lawyer necessarily has more exposure to his client’s business and is able to provide effective advice on day-to-day operational and management issues. I very much enjoy the business side of the law. I used to think that being an in-house lawyer provided a more “normal” life, such as better hours, less travel, and more weekends outside the office. After the last few years, I’m not so sure that is true. What’s top of mind for you in your job at the moment? What’s in those folders piling up on your desk? At any given moment, Intelsat has a number of business opportunities that bring challenging legal issues with them. Yesterday, I may have been working with a customer trying to help our sales force develop the business. Today, I’ll spend a lot of time working to obtain the necessary shareholder, court, regulatory, and other approvals required to close on a $1 billion acquisition of five satellites in space and one under construction. Tomorrow, I may be focused on a corporate finance transaction. That is one of the reasons I like my job so much. Every day is a new opportunity. As the head of the legal department, what are your top administrative issues or challenges? The No. 1 priority for me is to keep Intelsat legal in each of the countries and territories in which it does business. This task necessarily requires working closely with our business people so that our lawyers can proactively address legal issues. Another top objective is keeping Intelsat ethical. In both the United States and abroad, corporations are being held to a higher standard of ethics than ever before. Finally, I work to make sure that the people in my group remain professionally challenged and satisfied. What kind of work do you send out? We look to assistance from outside law firms on individual transactions of significant value to the company. An obvious example is a large acquisition or a significant regulatory initiative. Of course, we occasionally send things out that require specialized legal skills not resident in the legal department. Which outside counsel do you turn to in various substantive areas? For corporate finance, governance, and securities law issues, as well as some transactional work, we turn to Sullivan & Cromwell. For the remaining transactional work, we look to Hogan & Hartson. On the regulatory side, we use Wiley Rein & Fielding here in the United States and Coudert Brothers outside of the United States. We also use McDermott, Will & Emery for litigation and other matters.

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