General Electric Co.’s executive counsel, corporate, securities and finance, has moved back into firm life at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Aaron Briggs began working as of counsel to Gibson Dunn’s San Francisco office last week, moving from GE in Boston. But Briggs wasn’t just drawn to the firm for the warmer weather. He’s got a long history at Gibson Dunn, having worked there for nearly five years after graduating law school at the University of Chicago, but before going in-house.
“I started my legal career with Gibson Dunn, so this feels like a return home,” Briggs told The Recorder. “I had a great opportunity to go in-house and experience the work we do on the front lines. I was with GE for about five-and-a-half years, but now it feels like the time is right to come back to my family.”
He’ll be working with the firm’s securities regulation and corporate governance group. During his previous time at Gibson Dunn, he worked as an associate and focused on securities regulation, corporate governance, executive compensation and employee benefits. He practiced in the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., offices.
As executive counsel at GE, Briggs’ responsibilities included board governance, investor outreach and shareholder activism as well as regulatory reporting. He also dealt with shareholders’ meeting preparations and executive compensation issues. He worked for the multinational conglomerate from 2012 to 2017, and he’s taking lessons from those years into his new position.
“When you’re in-house you get a sense for what senior management and the board of directors are looking for, in terms of what kind of advice [they want] and how the advice can be given,” he said. “There’s a premium on the ability to communicate concisely, because you could be the smartest lawyer in the room, but if nobody is listening to you, it doesn’t matter. Being able to communicate effectively will be a big asset for me as I advise other clients from the outside.”
Charles J. Stevens, partner-in-charge at Gibson Dunn’s San Francisco office, told The Recorder he’s excited to have someone with Briggs’ experience join the team. Briggs’ work as inside counsel and a Gibson Dunn associate, Stevens said, mean he can provide a unique perspective, particularly for the firm’s growing corporate practice.
“We have been building out our corporate practice quite steadily out here in the San Francisco office and although we have some super strong corporate partners, we don’t have anyone who has Aaron’s specific expertise in corporate governance,” Stevens said. “It was a great opportunity to expand the corporate practice into that important area.”