X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Name and title: Eric Chung, general counsel Age: 35 Company profile: The accounting firm Arthur Andersen, seemingly destroyed by its role in the Enron Corp. scandal, lives on at least in part through Protiviti Inc. Following Arthur Andersen’s demise in 2002, Robert Half International Inc. purchased Andersen’s U.S. internal audit and business-risk consulting practices, hiring 760 former Andersen professionals. The timing was fortuitous. Soon after Robert Half rechristened the Andersen division as Protiviti Inc., the Sarbanes-Oxley Act became law. “We were very fortunate the federal government passed a law requiring internal audits and, lo and behold, we have 760 internal auditors,” said Chung. Lately, the company has been steadily diversifying. “We do a lot of traditional internal audits and helping companies respond to litigation, e-discovery and records management,” Chung said. “We help them restructure their debt if they have a bankruptcy, and determine if they are in compliance with various regulations, including anti-money laundering, privacy and HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act]. We work with the company lawyers to improve compliance and put in place auditing systems.” Protiviti now employs approximately 2,900 people, and operates 60 offices in 15 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. Route to present position: Chung, a native of Canada, studied business and economics at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Following graduation in 1993, he headed for Nashville, Tenn., where he attended Vanderbilt University Law School on scholarship. He began his legal career in 1996 in the St. Louis office of Bryan Cave. “The first couple of years, I was training to be an international lawyer,” Chung said. “The game plan for me was to transfer to their Hong Kong office, but the Asian financial crisis in the mid-’90s tanked that idea.” He ended up doing corporate work and real estate. Chung left Bryan Cave in 2000 for New York-based Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s office in Palo Alto, Calif. There, he did corporate work with a specialty in private-equity fund formation. “The Internet bust didn’t impact Simpson Thacher very much,” he said. “Most of Simpson’s clients were funds, investment banks, large institutions and corporations. We didn’t do a lot of startup work. Many law firms in Silicon Valley were turning away cash and insisting the startup firms give them stock. Simpson Thacher, being an older, white-shoe firm, insisted on cash. It turned out to be a good strategy.” Robert Half was a major Simpson Thacher client. Chung worked on a team of lawyers hired to advise Protiviti when the unit was getting its footing. Some 18 months later, Protiviti asked Chung to build a new legal department. “I jumped at the opportunity,” Chung said. “It felt like a startup, but it had a great pedigree. Everyone was a seasoned business professional from Arthur Andersen.” Legal team and outside counsel: Chung was the sole in-house counsel at first. He immediately turned to Foley & Lardner to keep the work moving. During the past four years, Chung has hired six attorneys with expertise in corporate matters, litigation management, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and government contracting. One attorney oversees Protiviti’s interests in Canada. “I am really proud that in the legal department we do things in an unconventional way,” he said. “I am a big fan of technology . . . .We thought of some innovative ways to make things easier and more convenient for our attorneys.” Protiviti turns to Baker & McKenzie, with its worldwide network of offices, for help with issues including M&A and privacy and regulatory compliance. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman helped Protiviti establish its government-relations consulting practice and assists with creditor rights matters during bankruptcies. Protiviti works mostly with Pillsbury’s offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and suburban Washington. Daily duties: “The biggest single part of my job is managing and mentoring the attorneys,” Chung said. “My top goals are insuring the quality of the work of the legal department and making certain everyone is productive and happy. Regulatory compliance keeps me busy these days. Periodically, there is litigation. Internationally, laws are changing constantly. We do a lot of mergers and acquisition with smaller consulting practices we believe are synergistic with our business.” Personal: Chung is a triathlete who also likes mountain biking, snowboarding, scuba diving and camping. “I own three motorcycles,” he added. “I rode across Ontario and Montana, across the Canadian Rockies, to San Francisco.” Chung plans to qualify as a chartered financial analyst. “One of my passions is stock picking,” he said. “I thought, ‘Since I am doing all this reading and learning about Warren Buffett strategies and the nuts-and-bolts of investing, why not do it for real?’ ” He is a serious poker player. “I’ve liked it since I was a little kid, and I’ve played at casinos since I got out of law school.” Last book and movie: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond. Pulp Fiction is his favorite movie.

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.