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A Day in the Life of a General Counsel

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 62 minutes
Recorded Date: January 29, 2019
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  • How CLO's allocate their time
  • How CLOs add value
  • The Role of GC in Risk Management and Operational Excellence
  • Q & A
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: January 29, 2019


What is really driving their decisions, how are they spending their time, how is the business side impacting their work and how are they structuring their departments.

This program was recorded as part of the Business of Law Forum at Legalweek 2019 on January 29th, 2019.

Provided By

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Liam Brown

Founder & Executive Chairman
Elevate Services

Liam has spent over twenty years helping general counsel and law firm leaders improve effectiveness and efficiency. In 2011 he launched Elevate as the law company to provide consulting, technology, and services to law departments and law firms. Previously he was the Founder, President and CEO of Integreon, Inc., a global LPO, which he led from startup in 2001 to annual sales of $150 million by 2011, before he sold his stake to private equity investors.

Prior to Integreon, he was the President, COO and Founder of a pioneering venture-backed Web 1.0 virtual data room legal tech company, which he sold in 2001 (now Merrill DataSite). Liam is a frequent speaker at legal conferences and regularly publishes articles about trends in the legal sector. He is also an active investor in emerging legal technologies and an executive coach for founders of startups.

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John Woods

Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

John F. Wood is senior vice president, chief legal officer, and general counsel of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He leads the Chamber’s legal operations, representing the organization in legal disputes and overseeing the Office of the General Counsel. Wood also heads the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, an incorporated public policy law firm affiliated with the Chamber.

Wood has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. He joined the Chamber from Hughes Hubbard & Reed, where he served as a partner. His practice focused on litigation, corporate compliance, internal investigations, and advocacy before government agencies.

Wood’s previous experience spans all three branches of government. He served as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri; chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; deputy associate attorney general and counselor to the attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice; and deputy general counsel in the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Wood was a law clerk at the Supreme Court of the United States for Justice Clarence Thomas and at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for Judge J. Michael Luttig. He also was an aide to U.S. Sen. John C. Danforth of Missouri.

He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his law degree from Harvard, where he served as articles chair for the Harvard Law Review.

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Christina Ackermann

Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Bausch Health Companies, Inc.

Christina Ackermann joined the company as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, in August 2016. In this role, she is responsible for Bausch Health’s worldwide legal affairs, compliance, global security and enterprise risk management.

Prior to Bausch Health, Ackermann was part of the Novartis group of companies for 14 years, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, General Counsel for Alcon, where she was responsible for the for the legal, intellectual property and compliance functions. Previously, she served as Global Head, Legal and General Counsel at Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, from 2007 to 2012. She joined Novartis Pharma in 2002 as Head, Legal Technical Operations and Ophthalmics, and assumed the role of Head Legal General Medicine in July 2005. Before Novartis, Ackermann served in Associate General Counsel roles with Bristol Myers Squibb and DuPont Pharmaceuticals, as well as in private practice, where she focused on securities, and mergers & acquisitions.

Ackermann attended York University, Toronto, Canada, for her undergraduate studies, focusing initially on fine arts and later moving into mathematics and political sciences. Ackermann also attended Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, where she obtained her LL.B., and King’s College at the University of London, UK, where she obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in EC Competition Law.

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Gina Passarella

Editor-in-Chief, The American Lawyer & Global Legal Brands
ALM Media, LLC

Gina Passarella is Editor-in-Chief of The American Lawyer. She has covered the business of law for her entire career, first as a reporter and special projects editor with The Legal Intelligencer in Pennsylvania and then as senior editor for business of law in ALM's global newsroom. She took over as editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer in January 2017.

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Rees Morrison, Esq.

General Counsel Metrics, LLC

Rees Morrison, Esq. is the founder of General Counsel Metrics, LLC. An entrepreneur and data analyst based in Princeton, NJ, Rees has for the past 27 years consulted to law departments on operational reviews, cost control, re-engineering, structure assessments, client satisfaction, technology, benchmarking, and other issues.  

General Counsel Metrics conducts the largest law-department benchmarking database and analysis. It had 805 participants its first year, 840 in 2011, and 1,001 in 2012. Morrison also created MMS Insights, an innovative merger of matter management system data from 200 companies and their benchmark metrics. He has teamed with Major, Lindsey & Africa to create a compensation report.

Before GC Metrics, Morrison was a partner at Thomson/Hildebrandt for six years (during which time he served as the Business Manager for Google’s law department), Altman Weil for five years, and Arthur Andersen for four years, before which he served as the Consulting Assistant to the General Counsel of Merck. Before that Morrison was a Director in the Law Department Group of Price Waterhouse, vice president of two software firms, and an associate at Weil Gotshal & Manges and two other New York law firms. 

Graduating from Harvard College in 1974 (mcl), Morrison earned his law degree from Columbia Law School (1978) and an LLM from New York University (1984). He taught at Cardozo Law School and moderated the Lexis Counsel Connect Law Department Management discussion section.

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