Strategic Legal Partnering between Outside Counsel and In-House Counsel in Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: May 22, 2020
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  • Phase 1: From Shutdown to Today
  • Phase 2: Returning to the Workplace
  • Phase 3: Long-Term Partnering with Law Firms
  • Questions & Answers
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Recorded: May 22, 2020


With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have had to adapt quickly to a new environment and many of them have been forced to operate with zero revenue. The current crisis is, in many respects, more chaotic and volatile than the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, and many companies are coming to realize that the recovery could be slow.

The last few months have presented various challenges for corporate America, including, for example, austerity measures, transitioning to new lines of business (e.g. producing medical supplies and personal protective equipment), and tracking guidance from the medical community and from federal, state, and local officials, all while advising the clients about the companies' core businesses.

In the midst of this chaos, companies have relied heavily on their legal departments to help navigate the crisis and outline a path to the other side – the return to normal. As in-house legal departments tackle these challenges, they need outside counsel to become a partner with the in-house team and help develop creative strategies to support the business.

The primary areas in which outside counsel can support in-house teams during this time are: (1) advice concerning operations while the business is partially or wholly shut down and employees are working remotely,
(2) advice concerning a return to the workplace as states begin to reopen and
(3) advice concerning the future of the client’s business and helping it prepare for the future state.

This program was recorded on May 22nd, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Tamera Woodard

Vice President & Associate General Counsel

Tamera Woodard is the Vice President & Associate General Counsel at AT&T. She is a highly-skilled attorney, thoughtful leader and trusted business advisor providing strategic legal counsel in the areas of employment law, securities litigation, government compliance, retail and sales operations, contract interpretation and drafting, and product marketing and advertising.

Kenjiro LeCroix

General Motors

Ken currently acts as a direct advisor to the Executive Vice President & General Counsel of General Motors on strategic legal and business matters. Ken acts as the lead attorney on various corporate and transactional matters, while also advising the General Counsel in advancing and handling key initiatives. Ken also assists the General Counsel in establishing efficiencies and achieving goals for the Office of the General Counsel.

Previously, Ken primarily advised GM's Corporate Development and Global Mergers & Acquisitions team on a global basis, working extensively on matters involving acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, strategic partnerships and alliances, and other complex transactional matters. Ken has been involved with various key transactional initiatives for GM, including the $2.3 billion sale of Opel/Vauxhall to Peugeot and other divestitures, the multi-billion dollar outside investment into Cruise (including by SoftBank and Honda), all strategic collaborations with Honda and other key partners, and various strategic projects relating to autonomous vehicles.

Ken has acted as the lead attorney for strategic initiatives and business collaborations concerning autonomous vehicles (AVs), car-sharing, fuel cell vehicles, and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), including his role as the lead attorney for AV commercial arrangements, for all strategic collaborations with Honda, and for the electric vehicle infrastructure team.

Prior to joining GM, Ken was a senior associate at a large law firm, where he acted as lead counsel to various Japanese companies for their operations in the U.S. and Mexico, focusing primarily on corporate and commercial matters, but also acting as outside general counsel to various small and mid-size companies. Ken was also seconded to Toyota’s legal department for 18 months on a full-time basis, while continuing to manage and handle matters for other Japanese companies.

In addition to having experience both as a transactional attorney and as a business litigator, Ken has extensive experience living abroad and working in Japanese (native level) and in Spanish (advanced). Ken has lectured on various legal topics in both the U.S. and in Japan relating primarily to U.S. regulations, cross-border transactional matters, and compliance matters.

Ian McDougall

Executive Vice President & General Counsel

Ian McDougall is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the LexisNexis, Legal & Professional division of RELX Group. Mr. McDougall is also President of the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation. A non-profit charitable organization established to advance the Rule of Law.

Mr. McDougall joined LexisNexis in 2004 as Vice President and Legal Director for LexisNexis International (LNI), where he oversaw the legal function for the group, including Regulatory Compliance, Commercial Agreements, IT, Intellectual Property and Litigation. Mr. McDougall was also involved in business strategy, acquisitions and general business planning. At LexisNexis, Mr. McDougall has stepped into varying roles, including Interim HR Director for LNI and Interim Managing Director for LexisNexis New Zealand. In addition, he led the LexisNexis implementation of the U.K. Bribery Act compliance and created the organization’s first broad regulatory compliance review program.

Before joining LexisNexis, he led Legal, HR and Facilities departments at Telco Global Ltd., previously one of the largest U.K. independent telecom providers. Mr. McDougall also acted as Chief European Counsel and Group Company Secretary for Hughes Electronics, a former subsidiary of General Motors Corp. Prior to that, Mr. McDougall served in various legal leadership roles for a number of technology and finance organizations; he also has extensive private practice experience.

Mr. McDougall sits on the United Nations Rule of Law Steering Committee and is a member of the UN General Counsel Advisory Board. Until Mr. McDougall’s move to New York he was a Board Director and Trustee for U.K. charity Peaceful Place, which is dedicated to providing support to sufferers of early-onset dementia. He was also appointed as judge in the Barrister’s Disciplinary Tribunal and is a broadcast cricket commentator in association with the Royal National Institute for the Blind. Mr. McDougall is based in New York.

Cathy T. Tang

Chief Legal Officer
Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation

Cathy Tang is just the leader to help facilitate Yum! Brands' transformation, having had a career defined by adaptability and agility. She started as a litigator with Stites & Harbison, in Louisville, after earning a BA in economics from the University of Texas–Austin and a JD from the University of Louisville.

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