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Can you talk about what the company does? Stanley provides information technology services and solutions to U.S. defense and federal civilian government agencies. We specialize in five core business areas: systems engineering, enterprise integration, operational logistics, business process outsourcing, and advanced engineering and technology. What is unique about Stanley’s business is that we offer our customers a complete life cycle of services to assist them with their mission-critical work. Our services range from R&D to the development of software solutions for streamlining business processes to deploying with our customers in the field. Some examples of our work include developing software solutions to help the Army manage its pre-positioned Army war assets, making your U.S. passport, and applying leading-edge technologies like MEMS [microelectromechanical systems] and nanotechnology to improve the accuracy of missiles.
So the company is doing well, then? The company is doing great. It’s a good-sized company — we’ve been around since 1966 — but in the past decade, we’ve seen a huge surge in growth. We now have 3,000 employees around the world, and we are competing with the other top-tier government contracting companies. In October 2006, we took our company public, and now we’re trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s been a huge and exciting change for the company.
That must have changed your job quite a bit. It completely changes the role for me. I’ve been here for two years, and one of the primary reasons I was hired was in anticipation of the IPO. They wanted to bring the company public, so they brought me on to help the company do that. We have been very lucky in the past couple of years. In 2005 we won the midsize government contractor award. In 2006 we launched our initial public offering. This year Fortune magazine named us one of the 100 best companies to work for, which has been a great recruiting tool for us. I feel like we really got on the map this year.
How big is your legal department? It’s just me and one other full-time lawyer. My associate deals with securities issues.
And to whom do you report? I report to Phil Nolan, our chairman, president, and CEO.
What are your biggest legal issues? I deal with a wide range of issues on any given day. I support not only our business operations but also corporate support. Our recurring issues include corporate governance and securities, and we’re active in the mergers and acquisitions area — we’ve done several deals recently. I handle labor and employment issues on a daily basis, along with government contracts issues, litigation, IP, and compliance work. I’m also the ethics officer for the company, responsible for our ethics compliance program, as well as secretary of our board of directors, where I act as legal adviser to the board.
What’s your background? I’m a native of Massachusetts, from outside of Boston. I did my undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts, and then moved to D.C. for law school — I went to American. I had a clerkship for a federal judge in D.C., and then worked at Reed Smith and later at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Then I went in-house. My first job in-house was as associate general counsel for Getronics. That was followed by my role as general counsel for DigitalNet, and then general counsel for the IT division of BAE Systems, and then Stanley.
Do you have a background in technology? I’d be the first to say that learning the technology part of our business was the biggest challenge when I went in-house. You don’t learn much in a law firm environment about technology. I was a psychology and music major in college. I didn’t necessarily choose to get into this industry, but it’s one of those things where sometimes your career picks you rather than you pick it.
What would you say are the best parts of the job? My two favorite parts are the variety of issues and the client itself. When I was in private practice, I wasn’t fond of working on one case for months and months. On any given day here, I’m switching hats three or four times. That’s just great to me. A lot of people don’t like that and want consistency. For me, I enjoy coming in every day and having it be totally different from the one before. And Stanley is a great client, which values lawyers as business partners and not just as lawyers. That’s a forte for me: to provide business solutions to legal problems and not just give legal answers. I’m able to help them strategize and see myself as more of a business partner than just a lawyer. It allows me to be more proactive in what I do, rather than being reactive. For private-practice lawyers, there’s already a problem on the table. What I like is to be part of the forward-looking strategy of the company, but using my legal expertise, so that it can grow more successfully without the legal problems.
Do you have any tips to offer other GCs? Get out and see your client! At Stanley, our culture, as related to communication with our employees, is a little different from other companies that may rely primarily upon electronic training tools and Webinars. Whenever we have an important message for our employees, we get in front of them, whether it’s an executive communication tour or an issue-specific training session. This can be difficult, as we have corporate bases across the country in Alabama, California, Florida, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Texas, to name a few locations, and we have employees who work at customer sites all over the country and all over the world, in Iraq, Kuwait, and Germany. I recently completed our annual ethics training at a number of our offices. After each training session, I would have a line of employees waiting to speak with me about various issues. That got me thinking that a lot of employees don’t feel they have a direct line of communication to me at corporate. They might not feel that the issue is important enough to bring up with the GC. It made me realize that in-house lawyers need to get out of headquarters more often and go to the employees, instead of waiting for the employees to come to us. We have to get out to the field and foster the client relationship a little bit more.
What outside firms do you use? I try and keep a nice mix of firms on the bench that I can draw from, but prefer to consolidate resources where possible to get more efficiency from firms. I use Cooley Godward Kronish for securities, Seyfarth Shaw for employment, Venable for corporate work, Wiley Rein for government contracts, and Dickstein Shapiro has served the company in a variety of areas for many years prior to my arrival.
And where would we find you when you’re not in the office? Watching any of the Boston sports teams. I also enjoy traveling with my wife and exercising — hiking, biking, running — because it’s important to clear the mind from what’s going on in the office.
Read any good books lately? I just finished The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. It’s a great story that is really well-written. I try to make a point of not reading anything even remotely related to law. I use it for some escapism. I don’t even read legal thrillers. I have my own legal thrillers going on here. I’m actually working on a novel myself. It’s a comedy.

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