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The general counsel of Perdue Farms is a meat-and-potatoes type of guy. But come Thanksgiving, Herbert Frerichs, Jr., makes that Perdue turkey and mashed potatoes. In his four years as general counsel, the 47-year-old has advised the family-owned company and its slew of poultry farms across the East Coast and Midwest as the Salisbury, Maryland, business’s sole on-staff attorney. That job includes overseeing various environmental projects, advising 20,000 employees, and enjoying the occasional brush with Frank Perdue. The founder, who is widely known for his television ads, has passed the business on to his son, but he still spends time around the farms and at company headquarters. Frerichs landed the job at Perdue while a partner in the corporate and securities group at Piper Rudnick. Now the managing partner of the downtown Baltimore office, he devotes two days a week to his Perdue position. What does your GC job entail? I am responsible for coordinating all of the legal needs and services of Perdue. We have all sorts of issues: labor and contract review, environmental law. What are the perks of working at Perdue? Perdue’s a family business, so it’s a good place to work. They’re really appreciative of what I do. What’s an interesting aspect of doing legal work at Perdue? Going from a corporate transactions lawyer to a lawyer who handles unconventional issues like environmental law has been fun. Have you worked on anything that is unique to your job at Perdue? We’ve been working very hard at developing a joint venture that takes the chicken litter at the farm and puts it through a process where it’s dried and pelleted and made into fertilizer and sold to golf clubs or whoever. It’s a way to take a waste product and turn it into something usable. Do you ever have to deal with PETA or other animal rights groups? No, luckily, we really don’t have that problem. We have a pretty good program for animal welfare. We take it very seriously, so we’re not coming under fire. Do you have a favorite dish that you cook with Perdue meat? I don’t think I have a favorite dish, but I don’t let my wife buy any brand besides Perdue chicken and turkey. What are your plans for Thanksgiving? The local football game, then Thanksgiving dinner at home with Perdue turkey, then more football on TV. What’s the perfect Thanksgiving dinner? I grew up in New Jersey and Baltimore, so it’s pretty much the standard fare � turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Have you had the opportunity to travel to Perdue’s farms? Well, [the company is] fully integrated — [the Perdue farms] grow the chickens and have them delivered to our [headquarters, where the animals are] humanely slaughtered, so it’s not always necessary. But I’ve been able to visit most of the farms. What would you be if you weren’t a lawyer? I would be an athletic director of a mid-size college on my way up to a larger college. Or still in the Navy. I was a surface warfare officer [before law school]. You remember Frank Perdue’s saying, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken”? Are you a tough man? Yes, because it takes a tough lawyer to represent a tender chicken company.

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