Covering corporate law departments and in-house attorneys for Texas Lawyer and other ALM publications, reporter Kristen Rasmussen profiles Raymond Ferrell, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at DexYP. DexYP provides local business automation software and digital and print marketing solutions to more than 500,000 local businesses, enabling them to compete and win in today’s on-demand economy.
The company’s flagship product—Thryv—allows local businesses to automate the business functions they performed manually in the past or never performed. These include building a digital customer list, communicating with customers via email and text, updating business listings across the internet, accepting appointments, sending notifications and reminders, managing ratings and reviews, generating estimates and invoices, processing payments and issuing invoices and coupons.
Ferrell oversees a legal department with five lawyers and five paralegals. The department generally handles in-house those employment matters that do not involve litigation; corporate transactional work such as commercial agreements; and some IP transactional work. As for mergers and acquisitions, about 50 percent is kept in-house, while the other half is sent to outside counsel. Litigation, real estate matters and IP prosecution are also outsourced, Ferrell said.
Ferrell said he uses K&L Gates for a good part of the department’s commercial transactional work and for digital privacy issues. For general corporate work and some employment litigation, he turns to Jones Day. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart handles a range of employment matters as well as many labor issues, and Gardere works on nationwide litigation. DexYP’s legal department hosts an annual meeting with all of its outside lawyers, during which an overview of the company is given and business partners provide updates about products and company strategy, Ferrell said.
“For outside counsel to give us effective counsel, they have to understand our business and our plans,” he said.
Ferrell has “a very diverse set of duties on a daily basis” that can range from managing and meeting with his direct reports to attending and contributing to executive committee meetings in which he helps set policy and make strategy decisions. Ferrell said he also communicates closely with outside counsel when a significant case or transaction is pending.
“I have a management and strategy role, but I also still draft contracts now and then,” Ferrell said, adding that he will contribute to a document that has already been generated by his team, mainly in the areas where he has the most experience.
ROUTE TO THE TOP
After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1992, Ferrell spent eight years in private practice at firms primarily in New York City, with stints at Carter Ledyard & Milburn and Fulbright & Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright). In 2000, he went in-house at American Express Co., where he oversaw legal issues associated with the company’s website and digital components, as well as its commercial card business. In early 2009, Ferrell joined Idearc, a predecessor to the current entity, as vice president for commercial operations reporting directly to the company’s GC. Shortly after the merger of what was then SuperMedia and Dex One in 2013, Ferrell was named interim GC and later permanent GC at that company, Dex Media Inc. Dex Media acquired YP earlier this year, and Ferrell retained his GC title.
Ferrell is married and has four daughters, ranging in age from 19 to 13. He is very involved in his church, St. John Church, based in Grand Prairie and Southlake; his college fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and his alumni organizations, including the Yale Club of Dallas (he has a bachelor’s degree from the Ivy League school). He also is a member of the board of directors of Medical City Las Colinas.
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