Eve Saltman, Deputy General Counsel at GoPro Inc., and Simon Seidler, Associate General Counsel at GoPro Inc., discussed what it takes to develop a legal team that performs consistently during a Fireside Chat with Argyle's Chief Legal Officer membership at the 2016 Chief Legal Officer Leadership Forum in San Francisco on April 14. During the chat, "Building and Maintaining a High-Performing Legal Team," both Saltman and Seidler shared their thoughts on how an organization can create a sustainable legal team.
At GoPro, the pace of business is incredibly fast. As a result, the company's legal team must keep pace to ensure all departments receive comprehensive legal support at all times.
"We spend a lot of doing as many things as we possibly can, getting into as many businesses (as we can)," Seidler noted.
"Early on, we knew had to build a team and figure out how to do it. We really had to dive in and do what the business needed to get done to drive the business."
The same holds true for legal teams at companies across the globe, which makes it essential for these groups to add and retain workers who can provide long-lasting contributions.
Many legal teams consist of problem-solvers, but it is important that legal professionals are passionate about their work.
Saltman noted her company's legal team strives to perform with proficiency and passion. And by doing so, this team provides consistent support to help her business achieve both its short- and long-term goals
Creating a successful legal team requires extensive time and resources as well, particularly for businesses that lack proven brands.
However, a company that is committed to creating and maintaining a strong culture can foster long-lasting partnerships with its employees. And ultimately, this business will be better equipped to attract and retain talented legal professionals for years to come.
For GoPro, the company has been able to foster a successful legal team thanks in part to its employee engagement.
According to Saltman, her company's legal team provides substantial contributions because each team member is committed to the business' overall success. Thus, this team frequently attracts and retains high-quality candidates because it is part of a growing company and is willing to do everything it can to further the business' expansion.
"To get in on the ground floor of something, that's really appealing to a certain kind of person."
No two companies are identical, and as a result, businesses may develop different guidelines to accomplish its goals. But with a recruitment and hiring strategy in place, a company can improve its chances of adding talented candidates to its legal team.
"Early on, we knew had to build a team and figure out how to do it," Seidler said. "We really had to dive in and do what the business needed to get done to drive the business."
Leveraging networks ensures a company never "has to start from scratch" as it searches for potential job applicants.
Employee networks can help a business promote its brand as well as find the right candidates to fill vacancies. These networks offer substantial value for businesses of all sizes. And as the global job market becomes exceedingly competitive, more business may rely on employee networks to improve their hiring processes
Lastly, a business must ensure that adding a new employee is a team effort, particularly when it comes to incorporating a new staff member into a legal department.
At GoPro, the company uses a collaborative approach when it comes to finding skilled workers to join its legal team. This approach ensures that all stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process and can provide feedback about various candidates. And ultimately, it guarantees that the decision to add a new worker is never a unilateral choice.
"Our general counsel was involved in every hire we've made," Saltman said. "Spotting the issue often comes from our team, along with getting the right people involved."
Building a successful legal team requires collaboration between all team members. Furthermore, it is crucial to add workers who are comfortable working together to reduce the risk of cliques, or perhaps even worse, a divided team. But with the right recruitment and hiring process in place, a company can build a successful legal team that contributes to its day-to-day operations.
Eve Saltman is the Deputy General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary at GoPro Inc., where she works on corporate securities and corporate governance matters with the General Counsel. Eve manages a team that supports intellectual property, human resources, disputes, product development and supply chain/operations. She was recently awarded The Recorder 2015 In-house Impact Award for her legal product counseling leadership at GoPro and was nominated in 2016 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as a public company "Rising Star." Eve previously held in-house positions at Autodesk, Siebel Systems, LiveOps and OnLive and started her career at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. At Cornell, Eve majored in History and graduated magna cum laude and phi beta kappa. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University where she graduated cum laude.
Simon Seidler currently serves as the Associate General Counsel at GoPro, Inc. He and his team support GoPro's Sales, Marketing, Entertainment, and Software organizations. He began his career structuring and negotiating deals at AT&T, working on several complex technology infrastructure projects that would later become AT&T's U-verse digital television offering. Simon then moved to Cisco Systems, Inc. and was responsible for a diverse mix of projects that touched on Outsourcing, Data Privacy and Employment.