THE IN-HOUSE VIEW
Tim Eigo: With an upswing in the economy, do you anticipate more outside legal
Sonny Cave: It’s going to provide work
both to the in-house team and the outside
team. At any given moment in time, I’ve
got hundreds of matters that are being
handled by outside counsel, lawyers in all
the different countries where we do business. I do try to hold as much work in-house as possible. Our cost model is generally about 40 percent of the total legal
budget for in-house work and about 60
percent for outside law firms.
Eigo: Todd, is real estate coming back,
and is there a hiring effect?
Todd Weiss: Yes and yes. When I started in 2004, we did $250 million in acquisitions. This year our goal is between $4
billion and $5 billion in acquisitions.
There’s not a week that goes by that we
aren’t sending a matter out to outside
counsel. We rely heavily on our outside
counsel to run our acquisitions.
Eigo: Lisa, as a large public university,
what does your office seek in outside
Lisa Loo: We look for law firms that
understand our challenges, understand
where it is we’re trying to go. We’ve been
lucky in that the law firms we have
engaged understand the challenges. The
downturn in the economy hasn’t lessened
our work; it actually has made us be more
creative because you have to figure out
how you are going to bring more money
in, and students tend to enroll in higher ed
when the economy is down.
Eigo: When you’re selecting outside
counsel, how important are referrals?
Loo: It’s helpful if I get a really good recommendation from Sonny, for instance,
based on a very positive experience, and we
do have these conversations every once in
awhile. We may discuss issues like who
helps you, what were some of the challenges, and how were the fees? How
responsive were they? So those things do
Eigo: How important is diversity in your
selection? How do different lawyers break
into your outside counsel go-to lists?
Christy Hubbard: Diversity and inclusion are very important to PetSmart. We
spend a lot of time and energy discussing it.
We try to live and breathe it. In our legal
department internally, Paulette Dodson is
our new general counsel; she’s been here
for a year now. Diversity and inclusion are
important to her. She will always think
about that; she will always ask that question.
What are corporate
Boiled down, that is the question that
drives a great annual event that gathers
lawyers and law profession communicators
to hear from in-house counsel.
The sponsor is the Southwest chapter
of the Legal Marketing Association, and
for the past few years, Arizona Attorney
Editor Tim Eigo has been privileged to
This year, the four in-house counsel
panelists came from a variety of public and
Our hour-long conversation, held in
September, covered many topics. Here is a
small sample of the insights shared by this
Todd Weiss ............Cole Real Estate—Senior Vice President, Legal Services Lisa Loo...................Arizona State University—Deputy General Counsel Sonny Cave............ON Semiconductor—Senior Vice President, General Counsel,
Chief Compliance & Ethics Officer, and Corporate Secretary, Law Department Christy Hubbard....PetSmart—Senior Counsel, Marketing, Operations and Services
CORPORATE COUNSEL ROUNDTABLE MODERATED BY TIM EIGO