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Manik Rath is vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of LMI, based in McLean, Va. Formerly known as Logistics Management Institute, the nonprofit organization advises the government in areas such as procurement and logistics.
How would you describe LMI? LMI is a strategic consulting company committed to help the federal government reach decisions that have an impact on how the government is run. The company was founded in 1961, initially to provide logistic expertise to the Department of Defense. Today it works with virtually every federal department and agency. Where is most of your consulting concentrated? The majority is in the national security agencies — the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies. Nearly half of our work is for civilian agencies, such as the GSA, NASA, the FAA, HHS, and others. Our logistics capability involves advising organizations on how to streamline activities that provide materiel, manpower, and services. It includes, for example, supply-chain management and mathematical modeling of the delivery of assets and personnel. Logistics is only one of our capabilities. We’ve grown over the last 45 years to include other capabilities. Most of our work falls into six areas: procurement consulting, facilities and asset management, financial management, information technology, logistics, and organizations and human-capital consulting. We also have expertise in health care systems, energy, and environmental science. How big is the company? We have over 700 employees, with the majority in McLean, but we also have offices in Mechanicsburg [Pa.], Baltimore, Washington, Newport News [Va.], and in Illinois and elsewhere. In some cases we are located in a site to support numerous agencies. For example, having an office in downtown D.C. helps us to serve the FAA, NASA, and a range of government agencies. We have about 650 consultants in logistics, management, and information technology consulting. A high percentage of our work force has had senior-level positions in the federal government and the military before coming to LMI. A high percentage has doctorates or other advanced degrees, and many were considered leaders in their areas before coming to LMI. How big is your legal department? In addition to me, we have an outstanding attorney who is mainly responsible for government contracts issues. I am responsible for the legal affairs of the company, including corporate law, tax, employment law, export controls, regulatory, and a whole range of legal risk-management issues. How is it that you’re a not-for-profit agency? Our mission is to help the federal government improve management and to be a part of the national security mission. As a federal contractor, our mission is to serve the public interest, so that mission falls within the circumference of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). What are the most significant legal issues you face? Companies today are faced with higher corporate-governance standards than in the past, and regulatory agencies, boards, and independent auditors, who companies hire for the beneficial purpose of complying with those standards, have become increasingly vigilant about monitoring corporate processes and documentation. So corporate governance occupies a good part of my focus. In some respects we are obligated to the same standards as public companies; in other respects we voluntarily adhere to standards set for public companies. As a former in-house lawyer for a public company, I see that a lot of what occupies lawyers’ minds applies to private companies, as well. Additionally, as a federal contractor, we are beholden to numerous statutory and regulatory obligations, and recent, well-publicized enforcement actions chasten us to be vigilant. These statutory and regulatory obligations include federal acquisition regulations, ethics compliance, and export regulations, just to name a few. These are the two big themes that occupy the largest space in my mind: corporate governance and the federal contractor regulatory regime. I think it’s fair to say that the job of an in-house lawyer for a federal contractor has never been as multifaceted as it is today. Every day is a different and a tremendously exciting job. What is your role in the company? I have three very interesting roles. As general counsel, I’m responsible for legal issues, and as corporate secretary, for corporate-governance issues. I’m also vice president of administration. We have two administrative departments; human resources and administration report to me. Administration includes facilities, risk management, office services, and security. There are about 25 people in the administrative department and about eight in HR. I have two great directors of HR and administration, and they work tremendously hard, so I have the luxury of working with them. To keep my roles separate, I have to make clear when I’m speaking as a general counsel giving legal advice or as an administrative supervisor. What are the best parts of the job? I have the privilege of working with a tremendously talented management team at LMI. They are committed to making a difference in the federal government and in the national security effort. I really enjoy sharing their commitment to doing the right things, and helping to lead a company that does something good and does it well. The senior management team consists of our CEO, Admiral Don Pilling; Anthony Provenzano, our CFO; and three operations vice presidents; as well as me. What outside firms do you use? I am always evaluating new matters to determine which attorney is best suited for the matter, so I use a flexible rather than entrenched approach to using outside counsel. I also believe in hiring lawyers, rather than law firms. I have been fortunate to work on several matters with Stewart Evans of Pepper Hamilton, who is an extraordinarily valuable and trusted legal adviser. Also, when I have an unusual government contracts issue, Scott Hommer of Venable is extremely knowledgeable and experienced. For intellectual property issues we use Mark Henry of Staas & Halsey, and the service has been excellent. On new matters I am always open-minded. What’s your background? Prior to accepting this job with LMI, a little over a year ago, I was vice president, deputy general counsel, and assistant secretary for Alion Science and Technology Corporation. I was primarily responsible for M&A and securities law. Before that I was a senior attorney with McGuireWoods and Baker & McKenzie. I went to the University of Virginia School of Law. We hear that you’re active in the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association. I’m in my third year on the board of directors at WMACCA, and last year started a government contractor forum for WMACCA. I also chaired last year’s corporate counsel awards, held in November. We gave awards for the chief legal officer of the year, the in-house lawyer of the year, the outstanding law department, and a community service award. It was a lot of fun. We’re planning a second annual event for this November. So what do you do with your free time, if you have any? I spend time with my new wife, Wendy. I also enjoy keeping in touch with friends, and we’ve been working on the house we bought a year ago — that takes some time. Wendy and I vacationed this January, hiking around Aconcagua in Argentina, which is one of the seven summits. We’ve seen a lot of the great mountains on our last few vacations. Read any good books lately? With all of the legal reading I need to do to stay current, I tend to start a book on a long flight and then it may take awhile to finish. I recently started Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond, which explores whether history reveals any theory about why societies fail or succeed, with emphasis on environmental destruction. I recently finished Thomas Cahill’s Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter, which is about the relevance of ancient Greek philosophy and politics to modernity.

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