Effective corporate counsel has never been more important than it is now. Arizona Business Magazine is recognizing the important and vital role that in-house counsel plays in the success of a business with the Arizona Corporate Counsel Awards, ACC Awards 2012. The 27 finalists and winners were honored Thursday, January 12 during a ceremony and dinner at the Ritz Carlton Phoenix. Here are the finalists in alphabetical order, A through G.
ACC Awards 2012 Finalists, A through G:
Jane D. Alfano
Alfano joined SRP in 1979 and became the first female to hold the position of corporate counsel. Her strategic vision and application of the law, coupled with her ethical values and professionalism, epitomize the best of the legal profession, colleagues say. Alfano manages a law services teams that includes 12 attorneys and 20 law firms that augment SRP’s legal team. Alfano’s leadership philosophy of delivering value to the SRP executive team by providing legal remedies to meet their business strategy and goals through partnering with SRP attorneys has resulted in strong alliances with executives, SRP communities and SRP customers.
Andrejs K. Bunkse
Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc.
Bunkse joined Redflex in 2009 to create a legal department for the company, which has customers in 22 states and Canada, representing more than 250 cities — each operating under its own unique set of laws. Redflex’s products have been scrutinized and have been subjected to a heavy defense litigation practice. Under Bunkse’s management of a staff of six and a wide network of lobbyists, lawyers and consultants, his department furthers Redflex’s efforts in setting positive legal precedent, improving legislative positioning, as well as defending a diverse set of external and internal legal challenges.
Senior vice president, general counsel and secretary
Cerda manages LifeLock’s legal, compliance, government affairs, and human resources functions. She brings more than 19 years of experience in lawyering and negotiation, effective management, and strategic advising in fast-paced, technology corporations, leading law firms and even the White House. She currently sits on the board of directors of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. Previously, Cerda held national positions on the American Bar Association (ABA), including the co-chair of the ABA’s Science and Technology Law Section’s Privacy Committee. Cerda graduated from Harvard College with an B.A. in government. She earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Associate general counsel
General Dynamics C4 Systems
Collins was responsible for all employment law aspects in establishing General Dynamics C4 Systems — which has its roots in Motorola’s military business — as a separate legal entity. Through the last decade, Collins has handled the employment law aspects of approximately eight acquisitions, along with major internal reorganizations. Combined with organic growth, this resulted in the workforce increasing to almost 11,000 employees. Collins has managed the significant employment law challenges associated with rapid growth, and is now managing the issues associated with workforce reductions necessitated by economic conditions and reductions by the Department of Defense.
Laurence De Respino
AMERCO (part of U-Haul International)
In the 11 years De Respino has worked in the legal department of AMERCO, he has been responsible for sweeping changes in every facet of the legal department’s operations. Some highlights:
* He has grown the department from five to 17 attorneys.
* He values diversity, providing opportunities for women and minorities and a staff that is split equally between genders.
* He has created specialties within the legal department, adding attorneys with expertise in product litigation, class actions, insurance, business, labor, employment, and intellectual property.
* He created a discovery unit to draft requests and responses, cutting discovery costs by 50 percent in the last three years.
Vice president and corporate counsel
The Dial Corporation
Gazaway is a former corporate and securities attorney for Snell & Wilmer (1998-2003) and a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated in 1998 from the University of Iowa law school. While working with Gazaway, other attorneys are impressed not only with his professional demeanor and practical approach, but with his passion for the company and the pride he takes in the company’s accomplishments. Both Gazaway and Dial value community involvement, opening their headquarters for a United Way tour, with Gazaway sharing his personal interest in helping those less fortunate with those who toured.
Chief administration officer and general counsel
OneNeck IT Services Corporation
Glynn has built the legal department at OneNeck from scratch into a small, efficient, well-rounded department that assists and ensures the success of the company. Among his accomplishments:
* He was the leader in the buyout of OneNeck from the publicly held parent company in 2001, including capitalization.
* He has led the acquisition of three private companies in 2003, 2007 and 2008.
* He led the $95 million sale of OneNeck to a publicly held telecom provider in 2011.
* He has converted all legal files electronically, allowing the department to have quick and easy access to all records.
Go Daddy Group
In-house legal department
In the past 10 years, the Go Daddy legal department has grown from a one-woman show to a staff of nearly 100, with 55 percent of them women. This unique department, which encompasses legal, network abuse, domain services, compliance, privacy, and government relations departments, extends its reach far beyond traditional legal issues. With guiding mantras of “do the right thing” and “know your client,” the legal department is intimately involved with its clients’ operational aspects. The department serves as an industry leader, drives public policy in the Internet realm, and still finds time to vigorously promote inter-departmental interactions.
Despite being a junior-level attorney, Grabiec has taken on significant responsibilities and acts as a counselor for high-level Intel executives. In the past year, Grabiec has earned multiple Division Recognition Awards from Intel for his work on important and ground-breaking projects. Some examples:
* Grabiec seized an opportunity and drove Intel’s participation in the first Poland-Silicon Valley Technology Symposium at Stanford, marshaling Intel resources and laying groundwork for future collaboration with the Polish government and university officials.
* Grabiec completed negotiations for the funding of a major high-performance computing program with a large research-based U.S. government agency.