In this special report, The National Law Journal recognizes the Washington metropolitan region’s top in-house departments, and their general counsel, in six distinct categories: overall excellence; outside counsel management; technology; diversity and quality of life; pro bono and community service; and corporate compliance.
Our overall leader, AOL Inc., is notable for its deal work: During the past six years, it has acquired more than 30 companies, including The Huffington Post. Last year, the department, led by general counsel Julie Jacobs, repelled a proxy battle, beat unpaid bloggers in court and achieved a $1.1 billion patent deal with Microsoft Corp. Also notable is Academi LLC, once known as Blackwater USA, which won in the corporate compliance category for its new in-house legal team, which worked to clean up the company’s host of legal woes and create a new culture of compliance.
LEGAL DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR: AOL INC.
New York-based AOL Inc. has been all about the deals in recent years, and its Dulles, Va.-area legal department has been the engine behind them. Led by Julie Jacobs, general counsel and executive vice president for business development, AOL’s 50-attorney department is one of the busiest deal-making shops in new media — but its workload went well beyond mergers and acquisitions in 2012.
Legal Department of the Year Finalists
• DYNCORP INTERNATIONAL LLC
• PROSHARE ADVISORS LLC
OTHER CATEGORY WINNERS
Outside Counsel Management: AARP
Technology: AMERICAN CAPITAL LTD.
Pro Bono and Community Service: CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP.
Diversity and Quality of Life: DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS INC.
Corporate Compliance: ACADEMI LLC