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Title: Attorney Location: San Antonio Age: 34 Sink or Swim Kelly Gomez Curll joined Tesoro Corp. as a demurrage and loss- control specialist shortly after moving back to San Antonio from Houston in 2000. She wanted an in-house legal position, but nobody in San Antonio was clamoring for maritime lawyers. So, she fell back on her pre-law specialty, maritime transportation, and hoped to get a foot in the door. Imagine the pleasant surprise felt by Tesoro lawyers three years later when they learned that their go-to maritime resource at the company not only had a degree from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, but also had a law degree. Charles Parrish, assistant general counsel at the time, says once he and the former general counsel found out about Curll’s background, it was a no-brainer to bring her in-house right away. “One day the general counsel came down and said, “We really think your skills are being underutilized. Would you like to come up and join us in the legal department?’ ” Curll says. Since then, she has gotten the company’s maritime issues in line, handled information technology procurement and taken over Tesoro’s labor and employment work, a specialty she began learning in 2004. When Curll joined the legal department, human resources dealt directly with outside counsel. The legal department was completely out of the loop, says Parrish, now vice president, general counsel and secretary. So he asked Curll to develop a relationship with HR and bring that practice in-house. “She’s thrived in it, developed expertise in all HR issues,” he says. Susan Lerette, vice president of human resources, was eager for the legal department to handle some of the expensive work her department had been sending to labor-and-employment specialists at outside firms, even though Curll did not yet know the practice. For the past year, Curll has examined the work the company sends to outside lawyers and has worked with those attorneys to develop her skills. Now some of that work is done in-house. “She’s really very proactive. She’s smart. She’s innovative. And she really works well with the team,” Lerette says. Curll says she and HR are learning together. One thing she brought to the table was her concept of doing what is right. “Sometimes you have issues come up with HR, and legally we can do certain things. But we look at what’s the fair thing to do and the right thing to do,” Curll says. Those beliefs and the bang-up job she’s doing with employment law earned Curll a management role with the company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics Office. Initiated by the audit department to address compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the office has become a top-of-the-line overall ethics compliance division, largely due to Curll, Parrish says. Parrish says of Curll: “She is a victim of her success.”

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