X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Name and title: Naran U. Burchinow, vice president, general counsel and secretary Age: 52 The company: Based in Maumee, Ohio, on the outskirts of Toledo, The Andersons Inc. is a diversified agricultural firm with four primary business segments: agriculture, rail, retail and processing. It purchases and merchandises approximately 150 million bushels of corn, soybeans and wheat annually, with two-thirds distributed domestically and the rest for export. It also produces 1.2 million tons of fertilizer and related products for major retailers, professional lawn care use and golf courses. The Andersons has operations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as in Mexico and Canada. The firm runs grain elevators, distribution terminals and farm centers; repairs, sells and leases locomotives, railcars and rail equipment; and operates a custom steel-fabrication unit. It operates six Ohio stores featuring hardware, garden, automotive and pet supplies-even wine-and produces corncob items for use in pet litter, animal bedding and turf materials. It has recently expanded into the ethanol market, having built one plant, and is making preparations for another. Approximately one-quarter of the publicly traded company, founded in 1947, is family owned. There are 2,000 year-round employees, augmented by 1,000 seasonal workers. The Andersons had 2005 after-tax income of $25 million. Daily duties: Although a generalist with a financial services background, Burchinow described himself as a “deal attorney,” half of whose day is transaction-oriented. The Andersons’ diversification into ethanol has had an impact on Burchinow’s day-to-day agenda. He identifies potential sites and performs project finance work for possible facilities. Drawing on his financial expertise, he participates in raising equity from investors, and negotiates with lenders and contractors. The rest of a typical Burchinow day as legal chief is devoted to board meetings and internal policy committees in areas such as benefits and health care. Attending to staff and stockholder matters, resolving workers’ compensation cases, whittling down his general caseload and solving “the odd question” round out his usual duties. A lot of the “heavy lifting” generated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 occurred before he joined The Andersons, but Burchinow is on the firm’s disclosure committee and assists its auditors and financial staff in complying with the regulations. Heavily regulated: The Andersons operates in numerous large business categories that are scrutinized by various government entities. As a major grain trader that maintains grain silos, it has to comply with U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. Due to post-9/11 concerns about protecting the nation’s food supply, its general counsel also liaises with officials from the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Coast Guard monitors the firm’s waterfront facilities, and gauges the environmental effects if waterways are involved. Two of The Andersons’ divisions manufacture fertilizers, so chemicals and labeling are controlled. The firm’s involvement in ethanol also is subject to regulation. Local health authorities watch over retail and food sales, and the company’s wine shops must adhere to alcohol-related tax, trade and law enforcement standards. The Andersons’ status as a public corporation, and its participation in commodities trading, derivatives and hedging spur regulatory activity by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Legal team and outside counsel: Burchinow helms a staff consisting of a second full-time attorney, a paralegal/office manager and a workers’ compensation claims administrator. The group receives support from a part-time lawyer and a quartet of clerical personnel. Burchinow reports directly to Michael J. Anderson, the firm’s president and chief executive officer. Two-thirds of the legal load is handled in-house, with much of it generated by typical retailer issues such as slip-and-fall incidents and workers’ compensation. Burchinow and his partner hire outside counsel as needed, primarily for litigation. He added, however, that The Andersons has “a fairly standard load” of lawsuits, with litigation “not of a material nature for the company.” External counsel are sought for SEC responsibilities as well as for real estate concerns. Burchinow “infrequently” hires transactional lawyers. Firms used most often include Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis (for SEC matters), and Toledo firms Spengler Nathanson and Marshall & Melhorn (for local litigation). Counsel in Mexico and Canada are also called upon because of The Andersons’ ownership of railcar assets held there. Route to present position: Beginning in 1991, Burchinow was with Deutsche Financial Services Corp. (formerly ITT Commercial Finance Corp.) of St. Louis, where he served as operations counsel and general counsel for its predecessor companies. When General Electric Co. bought the business, it installed its own GC, and Burchinow moved on to The Andersons, becoming general counsel in 2004. From 1987 to 1991, he was a senior attorney with Continental Bank N.A. of Chicago. Prior to that stint, he was in private practice as a general corporate and business attorney, at Csaplar & Bok in Boston and Fine & Ambrogne in Chicago. Burchinow graduated from Princeton University in 1975 and Boston University School of Law in 1978, where he was an editor of the law review. Personal: Newark, N.J.-born Burchinow and his wife, Eileen Conlon, are the parents of four daughters: Alexandra, 18; Emily, 16; Stephanie, 15; and Victoria, 12. Reading, home repair activities and accompanying his children to sporting events fill up his spare time. After almost 20 years of toiling in-house, his current job “is a very nice way to round out my career.” It touches upon a variety of businesses, is “fun” and represents the broadest mix of his legal life. He is pleased that his practice has expanded in scope, rather than narrowed, and, in contrast to his early days in financial services, he is thrilled to see actual groundbreaking and other concrete results of his labors. His advice is to avoid getting pigeonholed and resist the pressure to specialize, even as one acquires expertise in particular disciplines. Last book and movie: Europe: A History, by Norman Davies, and King Kong.

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.