Breaking and associated brands will be offline for scheduled maintenance Saturday May 8 3 AM US EST to 12 PM EST. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
TITLE: Vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary AGE: 42 GLIDDEN ET AL.: Drawing on his experience as managing partner of a Houston law firm specializing in complex commercial cases and energy litigation, Glidden organized the legal department like a law firm, attempting to apply the concept of task-based management to his new in-house job. The idea was to instill accountability and cost-effectiveness in-house. Tim Hill heads a three-lawyer litigation practice that includes handling contested regulatory matters; Steve Johnson heads a six-lawyer corporate and compliance section; and Bion Hitchcock oversees a six-lawyer IP practice group. Rather than rely on outside lobbyists, Glidden also has an in-house government affairs manager — who is not a lawyer — report to him on whether the company should align itself with an existing industry group, possibly one of the owner companies. “Our goal is to remain lean,” says Glidden. “We won’t be hiring teams of lobbyists anywhere. It ties into one of the principal reasons for our formation: cost savings. In such an environment, you don’t try to build a big legal department.” LITIGATION: Because the company is new, it hasn’t faced any litigation yet, according to Glidden. But he expects much of the significant litigation at Chevron Phillips — a technology-driven petrochemical company with 1,500 patents and applications in the U.S. and 2,000 abroad — to be in the area of intellectual property. “We have to enforce our rights through litigation or arbitration,” says Glidden. “I foresee that as being a growing area of litigation from both the plaintiffs’ and defense sides.” Most of the company’s legal work to date has involved wrapping up legacy cases from the original parent companies, says Glidden. The portfolio is typical of a big petrochemical company: primarily IP cases and some asbestos exposure personal injury litigation. The biggest case he inherited involves a $117 million wrongful-death verdict stemming from a June 1999 explosion at a Phillips chemical complex in Houston that killed Juan Martinez, a building contractor. The final judgment, not yet entered, is subject to Texas caps on punitive damages. Applying the current caps on punitive damages in Texas, Glidden expects the final judgment to be no more than $12 million. They will appeal a judgment in excess of that amount. CORPORATE TRANSACTIONS: Since its formation, Chevron Phillips has been scouting for deals, according to Glidden. “Ever since we formed the company, we’re looking at expansion opportunities everywhere,” he says. “We have an agreement to build a petrochemical facility in Qatar alongside an existing facility that’s already there.” Qatar is an attractive location, Glidden says, because it produces “the competitively priced feed-stock stuff we need to make our chemicals.” The company is becoming a publicly registered company with the Federal Trade Commission, which will involve an initial public debt offering, he says. A bond offering on March 19 raised $500 million, with in-house attorney Steve Johnson working on the deal with outside counsel Jerry Thomas, a partner at New York’s Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. TASK-BASED MANAGEMENT: As a leading disciple of task-based management for the last decade — having written widely on the subject, spoken at seminars and even pitched the gospel to legal departments at Hewlett-Packard, Conoco and other companies — Glidden “leaped at the chance to be general counsel” so he could try implementing the system in an in-house setting. The most popular task-based system, the American Bar Association-adopted Uniform Task-Based Management System, or UTBMS, involves translating legal projects into component tasks, identifying each task with a code, recording the work as it’s done and billing based on the extensive paper trail that results. Glidden’s department has a budget of about $20 million for legal services, 60 percent to 70 percent of which goes to outside counsel. Though it’s too soon to tell yet, Glidden expects the task-based system to trim “10 percent to 15 percent off” the company’s outside-counsel expenditure. OUTSIDE COUNSEL: Glidden expects his former firm, Houston’s McFall, Sherwood & Breitbeil, to do some of the company’s litigation, although as yet there is no formal arrangement. Philosophically, Glidden says he prefers “hiring lawyers, not institutions.” To resolve legacy cases, however, Glidden has paired up lawyers from two Houston firms, Tekell, Book, Matthews & Limmer and Fulbright & Jaworski; with Dallas’ Locke Liddell & Sapp; New York’s Pennie & Edmonds; and Los Angeles’ Latham & Watkins. “We’ve paired seasoned trial lawyers with creative lawyers from large firms to form a virtual team,” Glidden says. “The greatest advocates in the world need support. Large firms have resources that can bring lots of value to the table.” For administrative matters, Glidden says he uses Robert Gombar, a partner in Washington, D.C.’s McDermott, Will & Emery. For IP cases, he uses Pennie & Edmonds, Washington’s Howrey Simon Arnold & White, Chicago’s Roper & Quigg and Locke Liddell. Nearly all of the company’s corporate work goes to Thomas at Simpson Thacher. In addition, Glidden says Latham & Watkins, Houston’s Looper, Reed & McGraw and San Francisco’s Pillsbury Winthrop handle Chevron Phillips’ international corporate work. ROUTE TO THE TOP: Glidden, a native of Venice, Fla., graduated from Tulane University in 1980 and then from Florida State University College of Law in 1983, where he was managing editor and editor-in-chief of the law review. He then joined the litigation department at Tampa’s Shackleford Farrior, where he worked on cutting-edge constitutional cases. In 1988, he joined Houston’s Beirne Maynard & Parsons, and became a partner in 1990. In 1996, he formed his own firm, Glidden Partners. He developed a reputation for his successful defense of big corporations in complex commercial cases, business torts and energy litigation. He successfully represented Dow Chemical Co. in a battle with the Enron Corp. over the management of an intrastate oil pipeline. He also won a defense jury verdict for Dow in 1998, in a multimillion-dollar suit over allegedly unpaid gas-transportation fees. As his firm got off the ground, Glidden became a lecturer and author on legal practice management, advocating the task-based billing system. In addition to writing 11 volumes on Texas business litigation for West Group, Glidden became a consultant to corporate legal departments around the country. Through his work, he met the future CEO of Chevron Phillips. “He called, and I thought I could run a legal department like the one he was trying to build. After consulting with my partners, I jumped at the chance.” FAMILY: Glidden lives in Houston with his wife, Penny, and their three children: Kristen, 16; Sam, 11; and Emily, 8. CURRENT BOOK: “The Trusted Advisor,” by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford, about building trust and confidence in business relationships.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


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.