After seven years as a corporate associate with a big law firm, Patrick Maroney went in-house to expand his skills.
“As an associate you get very good at doing certain things,” said Maroney, now general counsel of Moxie Software Inc. “I really wanted to be a more complete attorney.”
Since going in-house in 2008, Maroney said, he’s broadened his skills.
“I do a whole bunch of things: litigation management; corporate work, which I used to do; intellectual property—new stuff I like learning about.”
Maroney started his legal career by joining Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich’s Austin office in 2001 after graduating Vanderbilt University Law School. He had been a summer associate with the firm after his second year in law school and was interested in technology law.
“Austin was a perfect fit for what I wanted to do professionally, and, culturally, it’s a great town,” he said. “I came down here and was sold right away.”
Gray Cary merged with Piper Rudnick in 2004 and then with DLA in 2005 to form DLA Piper.
“DLA was a great firm for allowing associates access to clients,” Maroney said. “From an early stage in my career, I was able to directly interact with clients and had the opportunity to develop relationships and get to know people in town.”
Those Austin connections led Maroney in-house in 2008 when a colleague suggested his name to Ryan Gravelle, who at the time was general counsel of Moxie (then known as NGenera Corp.)
“We were doing a lot of mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financing, and I needed assistance with that,” said Gravelle, now a partner in Kastner Huggins Reddien Gravelle in Austin.
Maroney had a reputation as a good, conscientious and smart attorney, he said.
“We were looking to expand, and he was looking to do something different from big firm life,” Gravelle said.
Gravelle hired Maroney as associate general counsel. Maroney became general counsel in 2011, when Gravelle decided to start his own firm.
Privately held Moxie Software provides companies with software that’s a combination of social networking and collaboration tools. That software allows the companies, among other things, to communicate with their clients and foster internal collaboration among employees. The company was originally headquartered in Austin, but the CEO and other executive officers are based in Sunnyvale, Calif.
“We have folks all over the place, people in key roles in different locations,” Maroney said.
The company has about 170 employees in the United States and Europe, and it subcontracts software-development services to another 75 people in India, he said. Moxie does not release revenue figures, but Maroney said the company projects that 2013 revenue will be 30 percent higher than 2012.
Maroney, the company’s only in-house lawyer, said he spends most of his time in four areas: commercial matters, such as negotiating contracts with customers; general corporate matters, such as administering the company’s equity plan; employee matters, such as dealing with hiring new executives and structuring employee arrangements in new countries; and litigation matters, such as license infringements. Maroney said he also works to stay updated on security and online privacy laws.
When it comes to outside counsel, Maroney said, “I’m never hesitant to pick up the phone and call folks. I want people—partners—who are vested in our business and interested in our being successful. I’m not looking for off-the-rack answers. I want answers tailored to our business.”
One attorney to whom Maroney turns is his old boss, Ryan Gravelle. Maroney is crisp and efficient with requests for help, Gravelle said.
“He might call up and say, ‘We’re going into this new line of business or tweaking this one product offering to do this new thing,’ and it might have been an agreement I helped create when I was GC,” Gravelle said. “And he’ll say ‘I need your help with the following three things. Help me think through some of the pitfalls.’”
Another outside counsel Maroney uses is John Guaragna, an intellectual property partner with DLA Piper in Austin.
“Patrick evaluates issues and seeks input from his stakeholders, management and board, and he then takes that input and advice and brings it to the table so that all are heard from, and that helps outside counsel understand business objectives,” Guaragna said. “He actually helps explore options, pros and cons, from a business perspective that a litigator may not appreciate but are very important to the overall strategies.”
Maroney lives in Austin with his wife, Jacquelyn, and their two daughters. His wife is an immigration shareholder in Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart.
Maroney said he is generally in the office by about 7:45 a.m. and leaves at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s very important to have dinner at home with the kids,” he said.
He works in the evening after his daughters have gone to bed.
“If I’m lucky, by 8:30 everything is quiet,” he said. “I appreciate our corporate culture and being able to work with some flexibility, which is kind of key with the kids and family,” he said.
After five years of working in-house, Maroney said he is still learning.
“Working with talented and smart people and helping those people take ideas from conception through production to the success of a sale is a cool thing,” he said. “I really am always learning about technology, how to protect it, market it and deliver it.”