X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Title: Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Location: Dallas Age: 54 Biz Necessities In between jobs at Trinity Industries, S. Theis Rice spent three years at the helm of Trinity’s European operations. That experience was invaluable to him as a manager and as a lawyer when he came back stateside and took over the legal department in 2002. “Being on the business side, your main interest is, “How do I maximize my revenues?’ They think in terms of relationships. “How do I make business happen? I’ve got to strike while the iron’s hot,’ ” he says. That outlook has won him a great deal of credibility with his bosses. “He is a good lawyer, but more importantly he understands business really well. He is a businessman’s attorney, which we value quite a bit,” says Trinity Chairman and CEO Tim Wallace. Rice has come far from his first position with Trinity in 1990, as an environmental consultant handling permits. He worked his way into the legal department doing deals, and then took over the mergers and acquisitions division in 1997. When Trinity acquired some rail-car facilities in Romania, Rice advised then-CEO Ray Wallace to send a Trinity insider to manage the business. “He said, “Fine, that’s going to be you.’ ” Rice says. Once he found a suitable replacement for himself in Romania, Rice returned to apply his on-the-job training to the legal department. Trinity has five distinct business units, each with different legal needs. Rice decided the traditional centralized department didn’t fit the bill, so he embedded one lawyer in the rail-car unit and one with the construction, energy and marine group. Mark Stiles, senior vice president and business group president, says the system works: “It’s just like having someone specialized in the business.” Rice brought in an archival consultant and initiated a companywide effort to identify and codify all records. He says time-savings are unbelievable, particularly with respect to discovery. Rice also implemented the ProLaw management system to track everything the legal department does, including confidentiality agreements, contracts and litigation. “Our attorneys bill to it; we bill to it. We forecast our budgets, so our business units know what to expect. All our reports are produced off of it,” he says. He also launched Trinity Legal Education Center, an online training tool through which Trinity does its ethics training. “When you’re located in 15 different states and six foreign countries with 8,000 or 12,000 employees, it’s hard to train them all,” Rice says. His next idea is an enterprise-wide assessment of the risks faced by each business segment to see how his department meets those needs. But his clients don’t have to worry about him telling them “you can’t do it that way.” Says Rice, “I don’t say that anymore. There’s always an alternative.”

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.