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Name and title: Deirdre Stanley, senior vice president and general counsel Age: 41 Electronic information: The Thomson Corp. provides information products and services to more than 20 million professionals in law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, scientific research and health care, among others. Some of its best-known brands include Westlaw, Findlaw and TradeWeb. (ALM, The National Law Journal‘s parent company, recently signed an agreement giving Westlaw exclusive rights to ALM’s content.) Thomson posted 2005 revenue of $8.7 billion. The company delivers information electronically over the Internet, through dedicated transmission lines, via disks and by way of handheld wireless devices. Thomson employs 40,500 people in 45 countries. Operational headquarters is in Stamford, Conn., although the company originated north of the border and is incorporated under the laws of Ontario, Canada. Its shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges. Out of print: Thomson, a holding company, wasn’t always so focused on electronic information delivery. It once was a major player in the newspaper and other print media businesses, owned a travel company and held oil and gas interests as well. That began to change a few years ago, when the board of directors launched a major “portfolio optimization” program, which transformed the company. Its new focus was on electronic information businesses that were more interrelated and had a more predictable revenue stream because the customers were businesses and professionals, not consumers. In a torrent of transactions, Thomson shed companies outside its new focus and brought in businesses that fit. From 2003 to 2005, the company completed 119 acquisitions totaling $1.8 billion. Two of those deals included the purchase of Global Securities Information, a provider of online securities information and research services, and Information Holdings Inc., a provider of intellectual property information. As for selloffs, during the same period Thomson relinquished 16 of its holdings for $1 billion, including its 20% interest in Bell Globemedia, a Canadian multimedia company that owns leading print and broadcast outlets in Canada. Thomson also sold print-oriented businesses in the health care, banking and financial services fields. Legal department: Stanley joined the company in 2002, when the transformation was well under way. She said she found about nine in-house lawyers handling mostly mergers and acquisitions. As the company changed, Stanley reshaped the legal department accordingly. The Thomson Corp. now is organized into four market groups: legal and regulatory, learning, financial and scientific/health care. The basic elements are now in place, Stanley said, even as Thomson continues to pursue acquisitions and dispositions. In February, the board agreed to sell some holdings in the learning division, including Peterson’s, a college preparatory guide, and K.G. Saur, a German publisher of reference materials. Stanley, who reports to Thomson President and Chief Executive Officer Richard J. Harrington, oversees a legal department of 48. Each of the four market groups has its own assigned legal staff, including a general counsel. “We try to situate the lawyers so that just by their experience . . . they are able to come to any analysis with certain knowledge of the issues,” Stanley said. “It’s not about having just a smart lawyer. It’s having a smart lawyer who has the business context.” The department contains specialized groups that handle corporate and finance, employment, intellectual property and other matters across multiple market groups. The team includes a specialized cadre of seven European counsel based in London. Other law department staffers work at Thomson locations in New York, Connecticut and elsewhere in the United States and the world. Outside counsel: “We always engage outside counsel for litigation, but for other areas we may use in-house lawyers solely, or we may engage counsel depending on the nature of the matter,” Stanley said. Some of these areas include mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, securities and tax. “We decide which outside counsel to engage on a case-by-case basis, depending on the counsel’s experience in the relevant area, experience with the company, responsiveness and cost-effectiveness. This doesn’t always mean the lowest billing rate,” Stanley said. She puts stock in building and maintaining long-term relationships, and chooses lawyers and firms “willing to invest in knowing our business and working the way we like to work.” Among the firms Thomson turns to are Shearman & Sterling and Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke in New York; Torys; and Allen & Overy in London. Litigation: Thomson is a defendant in two federal antitrust class actions involving its BAR/BRI bar-examination preparatory business. One case, pending in the Southern District of New York, alleges that BAR/BRI illegally leveraged its market position in state-specific bar-examination preparation courses into multi-state courses. The other case, in the Central District of California, alleges that Thomson and Kaplan Inc. unlawfully agreed in 1997 to divide markets and not compete against one another. Discovery is under way in both cases. Stanley declined to discuss them. Route to the top: Stanley began her career in 1990 in the corporate practice of Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s offices in New York and London. In 1997 she became associate general counsel and head of the mergers and acquisitions group at GTE Corp. Two years later, she joined USA Networks Inc., now InterActive Corp., as deputy general counsel. She later became executive vice president of its electronic commerce solutions division, supervising its legal affairs and business development. Thomson was her next step. Personal: Stanley was born in Huntsville, Ala. She holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and received a law degree in 1989 from Harvard Law School. Before going into private practice in 1990, Stanley completed a one-year fellowship at the London School of Economics. Her hobbies are cycling and running. She is engaged to be married to Shaun Massiah in August. Last book and movie: The Known World, by Edward P. Jones; and Tsotsi.

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