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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence.

H A L L   O F   F A M E   I N T E R V I E W

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

Having the opportunity to lead one of the world’s preeminent law firms is a professional high point unmatched by anything else in my career. Sullivan & Cromwell is a great institution with strong core values, a rich, nearly 140-year history, and among the best lawyers anywhere. The most respected people in the world turn to us for help with the issues that determine their own and their companies’ futures. I am proud to help lead this institution, and to be entrusted with its stewardship, with the goal of handing it down even stronger to the next generation of S&C lawyers.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

At a time of increasing specialization, we train our lawyers to be generalists with exceptional professional judgment and a deep understanding of the full range of our clients’ business issues. We work together as one firm worldwide, collaborating seamlessly across offices, regions and practices. But ultimately, what differentiates us is our steadfast commitment to our clients. Clients come back time and again because they know we will work tirelessly, with our highest and best focus, to ensure their success: we aim for and expect nothing less than perfect work product and advice.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Actively seek out as wide a range of professional experiences in your field as you can. And develop supportive relationships with mentors with whom you can have open conversations about your professional growth and career path.

Can you give me a practical example of how you helped a client add value to the business?

Over the last decade or so, one focus of my practice has been counseling the owners of family businesses on a wide range of issues, most significantly with respect to generational transition. ‎Often, family members who manage significant business interests for the benefit of other family members have a difficult time navigating through the inevitable complications imposed by their continuously evolving family dynamics. I have been privileged to advise numerous families confronting these issues by bringing an objective perspective, informed by many similar experiences (both with other families and in more traditional corporate matters), to successfully, I believe, develop a plan and governance structure that will inure to the client’s benefit for the foreseeable future. Success in this space is obviously professionally ‎rewarding, because the issues are often new and complex, involving different disciplines, specialties, geographies and industries, but it is also personally satisfying when we help these families achieve harmonious solutions.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

There are tremendous political and economic changes taking place around the world right now. Meanwhile, companies are experiencing increasing competitive pressure, digital disruption and an ever more complex, global regulatory environment coupled with stepped-up enforcement activity. There’s a great deal of uncertainty, and the pace of change is only going to increase. At a time like this, one significant challenge for clients is to stay focused on doing the things that will foster long-term growth and protect value in the face of disruptive forces. It’s human nature to be reactive, but at S&C we play the long game and help our clients do the same.


Hall of Fame Interviews