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It’s impossible not to notice Greyhound Lines Inc. As the largest provider of intercity bus transportation in the United States, serving more than 2,600 destinations with 18,000 daily departures across the country, the company’s buses are everywhere. Founded in 1914, Greyhound employs more than 12,000 people nationwide, including 1,000 workers at its Dallas corporate headquarters. With an average ticket price of $39, it’s no wonder there were 25 million passenger boardings in 2001 alone. President and chief executive officer Craig R. Lentzsch and vice president and general counsel Mark E. Southerst make it their jobs to know all the ins and outs of Greyhound. They recently shared with Texas Lawyer Managing Editor Lisa Fipps their thoughts on, among other things, the impact Sept. 11, 2001, had on the transportation industry and the company’s goals for the future. Texas Lawyer: What did you look for when hiring a general counsel? What characteristics were most important? Craig R. Lentzsch, president and CEO, Greyhound Lines Inc.: First and foremost, he must understand the transportation industry and our business. He also must be a talented legal professional. I look for someone who is a problem-solver who can break down complex, multi-faceted problems. Our general counsel must be able to work on a team, provide practical advice and have a good business sense. TL: How much autonomy does the GC have? Lentzsch: A lot. While he reports directly to me, he spends most of his time working directly with all departments in our company. I rely on him to escalate key legal issues and problems to my attention. TL: What role does the GC play in key business decisions? Lentzsch: I rely on our business leaders to make business decisions, but the role of GC includes advising us about legal risk and helping us eliminate or minimize legal issues. He also plays a key role in our compliance efforts. TL: How large a legal staff does the company have? Lentzsch: A total of three lawyers. TL: What is your weekly interaction with the legal department, on average? Lentzsch: I interact with our lawyers almost daily about a variety of legal issues. TL: How do you attract and motivate your legal staff? Lentzsch: Aside from compensation, it’s the opportunity to work directly with our company’s senior management and to get involved in all key transactions and decisions. We also have an interesting variety of work. TL: What has been the company’s greatest legal challenge in the past three years? Lentzsch: Following Sept. 11, 2001, Greyhound began a number of initiatives to enhance security for its employees and passengers. The legal department has played a key role in this process. TL: What did you do prior to joining Greyhound, and how was that experience helpful? Mark E. Southerst, senior vice president and general counsel: Prior to joining Greyhound, I served as in-house legal counsel for Burlington Northern Railroad for five years. So, I’ve spent my entire legal career in the transportation business. There are many similarities in the transportation industry, but there are many differences between railroads, motor carriers and airlines. I’ve spent my entire career in-house. That has allowed me to get involved in many different areas of the law and build a “generalist” perspective. TL: What in particular made moving in-house an attractive choice for you? Southerst: The main advantage I’ve seen is that you become very knowledgeable about the inner workings of your client. Many legal issues only can be appreciated in the context of your client’s business realities. It’s very “hands on,” and your advice has to be dispensed quickly and be straight to the point. TL: What kinds of issues have you had to handle? Southerst: It’s a varied practice, including corporate and securities, regulatory, labor and employment, and contracts. The size of the matter might vary from a large acquisition transaction to approval of a simple commercial contract. TL: In light of Sept. 11, how has transportation companies’ challenges changed? Southerst: Safety and security of our employees and passengers has always been the top priority at Greyhound. The events of Sept. 11 caused Greyhound to adopt a number of additional security measures. These measures are costly, and we have been lobbying Congress for funding so that we can continue and enhance these initiatives. TL: Given all that you do, how much autonomy do you feel that you have? Southerst: I have considerable latitude to get involved in any matter at Greyhound. All department heads welcome the involvement of the legal department because they know we will help them solve their problems. TL: What is the best thing about your job? Southerst: It’s fast-paced, priorities shift quickly, and the projects are challenging and ever-changing. It’s certainly never boring. TL: How many attorneys do you supervise, and what is the level of your interaction? Southerst: We have two other lawyers, a small legal staff relative to the size of the company and the complexity and breadth of issues that we are involved in managing. We also rely on our staff of paralegals and legal assistants to screen incoming matters and escalate the more important issues. The lawyers interact on a daily basis, and we have worked together for more than six years. We each have a particular specialization; however, at the same time, we function as generalists who may be called upon to address a variety of issues. TL: What are your short-term and long-term goals with regard to Greyhound’s legal department? Southerst: One continuing challenge with the size of our department is staying abreast of emerging legal issues and trends so we can provide preventative, rather than reactive, advice to our client. We try to read as many legal publications as possible, and we use the vast array of resources available to lawyers on the Internet. We also stay current on the intricacies of our business so we can understand the realities that have to be applied to a problem. On the long-term horizon, we attempt to intervene as early as possible on problems or risks that can lead to litigation and manage or resolve them as quickly as deemed prudent. We focus on avoiding litigation whenever possible. We then try to identify root causes or repetitive problem areas and assist our client in changing or refining business practices, improving training or focusing on preventative measures. TL: How much travel is involved? Southerst: Usually two to three trips per month. Greyhound or its affiliates operate in more than 4,000 locations in the 48 contiguous United States, Canada and Mexico, so I travel to many different places, large and small. And yes, there are occasions when I travel by bus.

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