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Title: Associate General Counsel – Environmental, Safety & Health, Employment and Security Location: The Woodlands Age: 49 Client Service and Cost-Savings Not only does Stephen Foster, risk manager at Anadarko Petroleum Corp., rest easier with David J. Owens reviewing environmental health and safety matters, so does the company’s general liability insurance carrier. Owens saves his company more than lost sleep, too. “Since Dave’s group has taken over, I know we have saved money. I know we have prevented ourselves from getting tagged in lawsuits,” Foster says. Soon after Owens joined the company in 2000, he and Foster waded into insurance recovery matters Anadarko had acquired with Union Pacific Resources (UPR) earlier that year. Half the matters were ensnared in litigation; the other half were headed that way, Owens says. Five or six attorneys were handling the work, with no uniformity. So he consolidated the work, negotiated some fee arrangements with the outside lawyer that UPR had hired, and he and Foster started calling insurance carriers. That pile is no longer as tall as it was, Owens says. Owens’ expertise, begun in environmental control systems at U.S. Steel Corp., is such a find that Anadarko sought him out after he handled a matter for Shell Oil Co. on the other side of the table. Kyle McClain, then associate general counsel at Anadarko, offered Owens the job because he brought so much to the table. “Dave has a wealth of knowledge, but he also had judgment. I would go to him and bounce ideas off him. He’s more than just a competent lawyer; he’s also a valuable resource,” says McClain, now assistant general counsel with Monsanto Co. Owens says private practice taught him how to manage outside counsel spending, on discovery, for example. He says his seven-lawyer section handles a great deal of that work in-house, routinely saving six figures. “There’s no one more familiar with Anadarko’s record systems. If we bring in outside counsel to be case manager, then we incur tremendous costs,” he says. Firm practice also taught him about client service and relationship building, which he now teaches to his staff, even though many lawyers seek in-house positions to leave marketing behind. Owens wants to build solid client-service professionals and leaders. He brings years of management training, also courtesy of U.S. Steel, to Anadarko. He now strives to teach leadership to his department. “If someone has a particular rank, that means they carry with them a lot of authority. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a leader. We have to develop leaders first, then train managers,” he says. The legal department is organized by practice area, and Owens has focused on cross-training the lawyers to build in redundancy. Notes Owens, “We share responsibility for files. We make sure that the clients’ questions are addressed quickly and timely. The only way to do that is to have redundancy within your group.”

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