Features June 2017

An approach that’s par for any course

As every golfer knows, you’ve got to play by the rules: Where you can drop a second ball after hitting the first into a pond or the woods. How you may address a ball in the bunker. Whether conditions allow for preferred lies. About mulligans: None, at least not while playing for keeps. Joe Nauman […]

An unlikely angle for activism: architecture

Like many lawyers, Juli Faris Bruce chose the legal path because she was an idealist; she wanted to make the world a better place. While the reality of the legal field—the grind, the competitive edge, the win-lose nature—can break some once-idealistic attorneys, Faris Bruce has found a way to contribute to the greater good. That’s […]

Building a legal career in construction and engineering

Ask a lawyer, especially a young one, what’s the biggest headache to working at a firm, and the answer may well be the pressure from above to rack up 2,000 billable hours in the course of a year. The overhead at the professional associations tends to be huge, and so the high-handed ideals that might […]

Depth, substance and professionalism always surface

When VHB was looking for a deputy general counsel in 2008, someone it could groom for the top spot, it emphasized a technical background. Someone well-versed in civil engineering might have been ideal. That wasn’t quite Khristopher M. Gregoire’s specialty, but one might have thought he was overqualified. For prior to graduating from the University […]

Judi Otteson – NeoPhotonics

Judi Otteson’s big advice sounds simple: Don’t be a jerk. Be gracious and listen to people. But because traits like kindness and compassion are sometimes confused with weakness, Otteson has learned to lead with conviction, while staying true to her naturally easy-going personality. She’s an attorney who can be both friendly and effective. “[There are] […]

Lias J. “Jeff” Steen – Oil States International Inc.

A man of high spirits, Lias J. “Jeff” Steen laughs when remembering how, upon being hired as an assistant general counsel at Houston-based Camco International Inc. in 1988, a graduating classmate at South Texas College of Law told him, “too bad you couldn’t get a real job.” That may have been what passed for conventional […]

Not legal problems, just problems

Vice President and General Counsel Barry Lubow recalls a quote from Harvard law professor, David Wilkins, that describes the relationship between businesses and their attorneys. Roughly paraphrased, it goes: Businesses don’t have legal problems, they just have problem—problems—the legal part of which they’d like removed as quickly as possible. In other words, Lubow says, business […]

Offering defense solutions on both sides of the pond

Defense contractors navigate a sea of regulations—it comes with the territory of handling sensitive material for nations and militaries. And the more a contractor grows, the more it must reconcile its increasingly complex business structure with the regulations that govern it. In charge of that task for U.S.-based Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions (CAES) is Bruce […]

Seeing clearly in vertical markets

Some insights can only come from weathering 17 years in the legal hot seat. That, says Suzanne Niemeyer, just about sums up her role as general counsel and managing director at Actua Corporation, a Radnor, Pennsylvania-based public company that owns and operates private businesses offering cloud-based software to customers in vertical markets, or markets that […]

Value-driven GC oversees 23 acquisitions in seven years

It’s a well-known perk of the construction industry: workers get to see the fruits of their labor. That’s not limited to the field staff driving nails or the superintendents watching buildings rise, though. The benefit is true for general counsels in the construction and engineering realm, as well. General counsels, like Richard Tong, see the […]

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