Kristin Sverchek, General Counsel of Lyft, Inc., recently spoke with Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law The Journal: Transactions & Business (PLJ) about the law department’s top goals and the best career advice she has ever received.
PLJ: How is the legal function of Lyft structured?
Sverchek: The legal team is split into litigation, employment, corporate and commercial, product, intellectual property, and compliance subteams. I meet with the leads of each subteam weekly to discuss the priorities for each subteam. There are currently more than 100 people on the legal team, so constant communication is crucial.
In addition, we have a legal operations team focused on legal technology and efficiency. That team also assists with our pro bono initiatives.
PLJ: What are the top goals or areas of focus for the law department?
Sverchek: Diversity and inclusion is a company-wide goal at Lyft, and the legal team has always been a leader in this area. As the legal team continues to grow in 2019, diversity and inclusion is front and center for us. I recently signed on to a letter, with 170 other General Counsels, urging law firms to prioritize diversity and inclusion. Since we operate in all 50 states and in Canada, compliance is also a big focus area for us.
PLJ: What three things does a law firm need to do to impress you?
Sverchek: A law firm should:
1. Have a diverse team with excellent people skills.
2. Exercise sound judgment.
3. Be a long-term partner.
PLJ: If not an attorney, what would you wish to be?
Sverchek: I would be a therapist. As a manager of such a large team, I spend a lot of my time trying to nurture my team members and set them up for success. I have found that I very much enjoy the “people” component of my General Counsel role.
PLJ: What book has influenced you the most? What is your favorite book?
Sverchek: Reading is very important to me. I am a board member for the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Reading Partners. Their mission is to help children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results.
That said, the book that influenced me the most is A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. My favorite book is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I am a mother of young children, and they never tire of this book!
PLJ: What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Sverchek: The best career advice I have received is to make sure that you love your job so much that you feel good every morning when you leave your home and have the hard task of saying goodbye to your children.
PLJ: What advice would you give to a prospective General Counsel?
Sverchek: Do not be afraid to think creatively and be solutions oriented.
Read the full interview in the April/May 2019 issue of Practical Law The Journal: Transactions & Business.
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