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Title: General Counsel Location: Frisco Age: 49 Part Time, Full Plate Not too many people can come into a company and replace a full-time general counsel by working only 30 hours a week. Melinda Jayson did, and her clients at Hall Financial Group find her prompt and responsive. “She’s a very organized person and very independent worker. She has the ability to properly delegate and get other people to help get things done,” says Craig Hall, chairman of the privately held investment firm. Mark Depker, president of Hall’s management division, says Jayson likes a clean desk. “She doesn’t let [work] sit around. When it hits her desk, she likes to review it, make her comments and get it moving,” he says. Jayson says her assistant, her telephone and her BlackBerry keep her up to speed. “I’m always ahead, that’s just my nature,” she says. That responsiveness, and the great job Jayson did for him as a litigator at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, were what moved Hall to suggest the unique part-time arrangement. Jayson had been operating a private arbitration practice within Hall’s offices since 1996, when she left Akin Gump. “We decided to start what was intended to be a temporary relationship, helping each other out, giving Melinda an office and a place to work out of. And it’s just worked out very well for both of us,” Hall says. When Hall’s former general counsel left in 1999, Jayson took over the in-house responsibilities. She still arbitrates, and the arrangement is seamless, say her colleagues. She says she handles it as many trial lawyers do in firms: arbitration, such as a court hearing, during the day, and her in-house work in the evening or during non-arbitration days. She has had arbitrations scheduled for 10 days in a row, and managed to keep up with Hall’s work as well. In addition to keeping Hall out of litigation and reviewing contracts, Jayson has whipped the legal department into shape. She organized the company’s files, some going back 40 years, with database programs. And she has saved on law firm bills by paring down the number of firms the company uses and centralizing the billing. “I know everything that’s going on, which I think is very helpful to the company,” she says. Jayson admits the part-time arrangement would not work for everyone. Her prior relationship with Hall was the key, and her organization ensures that nothing slips through the cracks. “You have to know the senior people well enough that they’re confident that this can work,” she says. Hall says Jayson’s experience handling litigation for his company gave her a good background in its interests. He says his senior management is full of long-term employees, and Jayson fit in well with that culture. “Being private, [we] can and we do act in manners that are not conventional,” he says.

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