The Silicon Review
Originally formed in 1890, Squire Patton Boggs is one of the world’s oldest and largest law firms. Today, the firm has 44 offices in 20 countries on four continents and provides a full range of cutting-edge legal services to a global client base. As one of the top 15 law firms with the largest global footprint, the firm has extensive experience in a wide variety of areas, including international dispute resolution, public finance, restructuring and insolvency, and complex transactions. It also supports a wide-ranging, high-profile client base with services in litigation, corporate and congressional investigations, and regulatory and compliance issues. However, the firm may be best known for its unparalleled public policy practice, which routinely holds top rankings not only in the US but abroad, where it leverages its locations across Europe and particularly Brussels in its position as headquarters of the European Union.
This practice thrives at the nexus of policy and law, making it a distinctive differentiator for the firm and a valuable benefit to clients. Rather than viewing problems through the lens of existing laws, as traditional lawyers do, public policy professionals take a holistic approach and consider all areas that may affect a client’s issues. They utilize sophisticated arguments to modify, develop and implement alternative legal interpretations where a change in law, policy, or regulation can dramatically affect the outcome of a transaction or a dispute. This often requires working with individuals in congress and the executive branch, lobbying, and participating in government investigations.
In conversation with Edward Newberry, Global Managing Partner, Policy of Squire Patton Boggs
Q. Legal work requires lots of rational thinking and research. How do you maintain efficiency in your service?
Legal work is complex, and clients demand efficiency. Efficiency does not mean cutting corners; it means working smart: devoting the time necessary to develop sustainable strategies that yield maximum results. Sometimes, more labor at the outset leads to a greater chance of a successful outcome, so while efficiency is crucial, positive results for the clients are paramount.
Firms and corporations are crossing international borders and expanding across the globe through mergers, acquisitions, consolidation, and collaboration with foreign counsel. Tell us about your compliance model.
Our worldwide reach requires the firm to maintain a global compliance program that ensures we meet our clients’ needs and expectations in all the ways that comply with ethical rules and applicable regulations in every jurisdiction in which we practice. Other firms have run into significant problems by applying different standards in different jurisdictions. Our firm has never done that. We have always applied a one-firm approach to compliance and we regularly regard the most restrictive applicable regulation as the standard in order to prevent exposing our clients to risk. This model has served the firm and its clients extremely well for decades.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful leader?
1) Effectual communication, specifically the ability to listen and take on board insights and perspectives from a variety of people who are often the best in their field; 2) the adaptability to form effective strategies regardless of conditions or environment; and 3) the courage and foresight to innovate change and manage it efficiently. This maximizes opportunities.
Q. What other CEOs do you look up to? Why?
I look up to Elon Musk. Though he may be controversial, to me, he combines the remarkable abilities of a master communicator, an innovator, and a visionary. Similar to other far-sighted men like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in this era and Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla in past decades, he can imagine and make practical what others consider impossible, thereby benefitting the present and shaping the future.
Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
My advice is to ask yourself, “How can I best contribute?” This is a concept introduced to me by the writings of Peter Drucker, “the founder of modern management.” This question is extraordinarily empowering and focuses on one’s strengths. When honestly considered and truthfully answered, it enables the individual to not only support the professional organizations in which one serves, but to feel satisfied and fulfilled in one’s own personal life.
Q. How do you market your services?
Marketing in the legal industry is complicated and much different from marketing goods and other services. A media presence is important, and advertising is expected, but keeping abreast of current situations that may affect clients and thinking ahead in order to develop cutting-edge solutions for complex problems are critical. Clients hire the firm they think is most familiar with their issues, can identify and understand their problems, and offers the most effective solutions at a realistic price point. Inherent in that environment is the requisite to communicate ideas and options clearly to clients, many of whom are sophisticated businesses that need to make shrewd commercial decisions within a legal framework. What may be a perfect legal solution may not prove to be the best business decision for a client. Experience and reputation speak loudly and clients will seek out a firm that excels at what it does.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
We are always looking for new and innovative opportunities to improve the services we offer and expand the markets in which we work.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
The future for the firm is extremely bright. We continue to attract top legal practitioners, from both the US and abroad, as we expand our list of professionals and increase our capabilities in order to serve and support clients in whatever environment they find themselves.