Scott C. Taylor, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Symantec Corp., recently sat down with Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law The Journal – Transactions & Business (PLJ) to discuss how law firms can best impress him and opportunities for engagement and collaboration.
PLJ: How do you measure and improve productivity and success within the law department?
Scott C. Taylor: Each year we establish Priorities to Improve (PTI) aimed at further strengthening our Legal & Public Affairs Department’s (LPA’s) foundation and our contributions to the success of the company. The PTI for our most recent fiscal year cover a wide range of specific goals including, for example, the development of new training modules, attainment of compliance training targets, increasing the diversity of our workforce, and supporting key initiatives such as the divestiture of Veritas. All of these PTI roll up to higher-level company goals to ensure that our efforts are closely aligned with the business.
PLJ: How do you align the incentives of external law firms with the objectives of the law department?
Taylor: We manage a set of preferred law firm providers with which we have negotiated rate agreements. These arrangements are volume-based and we make sure the law firms understand that the opportunity to increase the work assigned to them depends on their ongoing ability to deliver timely, high-quality and cost-effective support to us.
While our preferred providers receive most of our attention, we also engage many other law firms to meet specific needs, whether it is for their particular domain expertise or geographic location. To continue their work with Symantec, we encourage the same level of performance from all providers.
PLJ: What does a law firm need to do to impress you?
Taylor: There is a wealth of legal talent in Silicon Valley and we have many options available to meet our needs. We find it helpful that some law firms have the resources to hold breakfast briefings and other no-cost events to share knowledge of current trends and best practices in relevant areas of law.
As for the law firms that we currently engage, it is notable when they gain knowledge of our industry, understand the unique challenges we face, and “walk the talk” by proactively collaborating with us in addressing our needs, whether it be in helping to manage a major project or simply by providing relevant and timely advice.
PLJ: What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Taylor: Early in my career, a partner encouraged me to always be mindful of opportunities to learn and seek out new engagements as a means to build my skills and develop the experience needed to be successful in my career. Adhering to this advice has been very beneficial to my development and ability to contribute. This advice has also made the practice of law a truly exciting and fulfilling journey.
You can read the full interview with Mr. Taylor in the February issue of Practical Law The Journal: Transactions & Business.