Daniel J. Goldstein, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Pitney Bowes Inc., recently shared his views with Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law The Journal: Transactions & Business (PLJ) about how his law department works as a team, as well as his focus on skills development and diversity, both within his department and with outside counsel.
PLJ: How is the legal function structured?
Goldstein: We call our legal group the Global Legal and Compliance Organization. In addition to attorneys, the group includes Data Privacy, Government Affairs, Corporate Governance, Environmental Health & Safety, Ethics & Compliance, and Contracts. The Contracts group is made up of contracts professionals who handle much of the client or vendor contract negotiations.
We divide our attorneys into groups accountable to the business units and then specialists in labor and employment, intellectual property, and procurement matters. Individual attorneys also specialize in certain key substantive areas, such as M&A, securities, privacy, and trade. We have attorneys based in Australia, England, and the US.
PLJ: What are the top goals or areas of focus for the law department? Are there any innovative ideas the law department has adopted to further its goals?
Goldstein: We work closely with the business units to assist them in achieving their long- and short-term goals, while adhering to high ethical and legal standards. That includes advising them on how to manage (not eliminate) risk and balance it with reward.
Within the legal group, we maximize our resources through teaming and skills development so that we can “go where the work is,” meaning that we aim to give people opportunities outside of their core area of expertise, both to expand their skills and to enable us to handle spikes in different kinds of work. This also increases our sense of being a single team. We apply this discipline not just to attorneys, but also to contracts professionals, paralegals, and specialists in other areas.
Another area of focus for us is diversity and inclusion. We value diversity highly, both within the legal group and with our outside counsel. We make it clear to our outside counsel the importance of having a diverse team staffed on our matters, and, for major matters, ask to meet in person with the entire team to ensure that the people initially identified to us will in fact have an active role. Internally, we, like many others, apply our version of the Rooney Rule. We will not hire for an open position unless and until we have considered minority candidates.
PLJ: What book has influenced you the most?
Goldstein: Conspiracy of Fools is about the Enron scandal and shows how a lot of seemingly minor decisions that deviate from doing the right thing can lead you down the road to a major scandal.
PLJ: What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Goldstein: Step out of your comfort zone and think beyond the purely legal issues.
PLJ: What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective General Counsel?
Goldstein: Remember who your client is and that your advice should not just be about what is legal. It should also be about what is right.
Read the full interview in the February issue of Practical Law The Journal: Transactions & Business (PLJ).
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