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Carla Garrett is general counsel and secretary of Bethesda, Md.-based CoStare Group Inc. Tell us a bit about CoStar, such as the size of the company and the services it provides. CoStar is the leading provider of information services to the commercial real estate industry in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company has more than 850 employees throughout the U.S. and the U.K., including about 400 in our corporate headquarters in Bethesda. CoStar offers customers online access to a comprehensive database of commercial real estate information, which has been researched and verified by our team of researchers. We maintain the industry’s largest research organization, currently covering 50 U.S. markets as well as London and the United Kingdom. Our customers include commercial real estate brokers, owners, investors, lenders, appraisers, and financial institutions. Describe the scope of your job as general counsel. As general counsel, I am responsible for all of the legal issues affecting the company. I work closely with the other members of the management team to help them accomplish their departments’ objectives. How did you come to this job? What’s your background? I started my career as a corporate lawyer at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto, Calif. When my husband and I moved to the District, I joined Sullivan & Cromwell as a corporate/transactional attorney. I was very happy with my job and was not looking to leave. However, down the road I thought I would like in-house work where I’d be working for one client and would really know that client’s business. When the opportunity to become general counsel of CoStar arose, I was extremely interested. CoStar had just gone public and was planning on expanding the company. I liked the CEO and CFO of CoStar when I met them, and as I learned more about CoStar and its products and growth plans, I knew that it was going to be a very successful company and a place where I could definitely add value. How big is your legal department? I joined CoStar in 1999 as the general counsel and the company’s first attorney. We now have two other attorneys and two legal assistants. Who do you report to? Chief Executive Officer Andrew Florance. What areas of law are at the top of your mind these days? CoStar’s main asset is a database containing a wealth of information about commercial real estate properties. Our customers access and use that database through our Web site. The database has millions of properties with hundreds of fields of information and photographs and other imagery for each record. Because our intangible assets are so valuable and are the heart of our company, one of the legal department’s top priorities is protecting these assets through all available legal means. This requires us to stay on top of the latest developments in areas such as copyright, contract, trademark, privacy, patent, and e-commerce law. In addition, we are aggressive in detecting piracy of our products and taking action against people that misappropriate our services. Also, since CoStar is a public company listed on Nasdaq, I am very involved in CoStar’s corporate governance matters and ensuring that CoStar is in compliance with all of the new Sarbanes-Oxley requirements. These new laws have kept us busy for the past few years. What aspect of your job do you find most challenging? The most fun? I like transactions the best, such as acquisitions and public offerings. CoStar is very active in acquiring other companies. In 2003, we acquired Property Intelligence plc, a public company based in London. That transaction was challenging, as I had to become familiar with U.K. acquisition laws. It was a rewarding experience because I was able to help CoStar reach its goal of becoming an international company. Also, in 2003, I was very involved in helping CoStar through the Securities and Exchange Commission review process for CoStar’s follow-on public offering in which CoStar raised more than $50 million. What kind of work do you send out? We do a lot of our work in-house. However, we use outside counsel for our litigation matters, patent work, office leases, and transactional work. We also regularly consult outside counsel on many other legal issues, such as securities law issues and intellectual property matters. Even then, we tend to be a very hands-on legal department when working with outside counsel. What qualities do you look for in an outside counsel? Any pet peeves? I look for outside counsel that are very knowledgeable about the area of law that I am asking them about. We tend to use different law firms for different types of legal matters. For instance, we use one firm to do our securities work, another to do our patent work, and another to do our employment work. I find that by using different firms for different areas of law, I can find very qualified people that can cost-effectively do our legal work. I also look for outside counsel that can understand a general counsel’s position, and therefore give practical legal advice. One of my pet peeves is when a law firm spends too much time on an issue that is not that important to the company. Also, I am not a big fan of legal memos. I think there are situations that call for legal memos, but I like to approve those in advance. What are you currently reading for fun? The Da Vinci Code. If you weren’t a lawyer, what could you see yourself doing instead? I would be spending more time with my 2-year-old twins.

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