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MAGNA-FYI Quarterly - Interview Edition - September 26, 2011
MAGNA-FYI Quarterly - Interview Edition - September 26, 2011
MAGNA-FYI Quarterly - Interview Edition - September 26, 2011
MAGNA-FYI Quarterly - Interview Edition - September 26, 2011
MAGNA-FYI Quarterly - Interview Edition - September 26, 2011
MAGNA-FYI Quarterly - Interview Edition - September 26, 2011
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Streamlining Relationships with Outside Counsel
Overruled by Joe Aronds
Jury Confirm
Magna Legal Services
Magna-Fy Staff
Peter Hecht
Bonnie Schmonsees
Back Issues
Contents: issue 1, volume 2
Editor’s Note
Game On
Patent Trolls
Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Bicycles and Denmark
Gulf War to Brand War
Straight Forward Expectations
Use the News
The Opera isn’t Over Until The Last Claim is Paid
Editor’s Note: Peter Hecht, Executive VP of Sales, Magna Legal Services
Friends of Magna,

The summer, as always, goes by too quickly and before you know it, we are back to hearings, motions, depositions, trials, arbitrations, no lunches, late nights at the office, working weekends, angry spouses, and the list goes on …

As always, your friends at Magna LS are ready to support you. With the return of Fall, I am pleased to share our latest interview edition of MAGNA-FYI for your reading pleasure. We have three new revealing interviews, along with all of our past greatest hits. If you would like to get to know them in person, consider joining us at our next big seminar at The Borgata Hotel and Casino on November 9th and 10th.

I suggest all of our new readers give our services a try. If you are a loyal client, consider one of our new programs like www.JuryConfirm or We are the best, and if you think I am biased (you are 100% right), check out our recognition by The Legal Intelligencer listing Magna Legal Services as their Gold Winner for their 2010 law firm survey.


Game On: Interview with Seth Krauss of Take-Two Interactive
Space Invaders ScreenSeth Krauss is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel at New York City-based Take-Two Interactive. If Take-Two doesn’t ring a bell, some of their video games surely do: Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire (those three also happen to be among Krauss’ favorites). Working at Take-Two, he is versed in everything from SEC filings for the publicly traded company to the legalities surrounding social media. He began his career as an assistant district attorney for the New York County District Attorney, where he worked for eight- and- a- half years.

Q. Is assistant district attorney the sort of job that is really exciting, but just horrible pay?

A. You really don’t think about it that way. No one takes that job for the money. I took it because I wanted to get involved in public service.

Q. At the DA’s office, you worked on the Enron case.

A. Yes, but after it was wrapped up, I thought it was time to move on. I felt that I had accomplished a lot, but I wanted to see what else was out there. Seven days a week for three years can do that to you.


Patent Trolls: Interview with Michael Walsh of SunGard
Michael Walsh fights trolls. His official title is chief litigation counsel for Wayne, Pennsylvania-based SunGard, which provides software, services and technology to help run business and government operations. Think programs for digital campuses, commodities trading and police departments. But legal fights, fomented by what some call patent trolls, are forcing Walsh to be as fleet-footed as a lacrosse player (his favorite sport) when it comes to patent litigation.

Q. First off, a history lesson. One of the things that caught my eye was the way your company started.

A. It’s interesting. It started as a spin-off of Sun Oil Company.

Q. According to the company history, that’s because a lot of oil companies were diversifying in the 1970’s – into businesses such as computing – because of low oil prices.

A. Our early focus was disaster recovery – in other words, backing up your files on disc. We still have that under our “availability services” division, but disaster recovery has changed. Discs are ancient history, and it’s easy for anyone to back up stuff. Our availability services business now provides, in addition to disaster recovery services, managed hosting, collocation, cloud computing and software offerings.


Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Bicycles and Denmark
Jeremy Berger thought he had a long commute from his home in Philadelphia to his office in Princeton, New Jersey - at least an hour each way, softened only by listening to ESPN Radio. We caught up with him en route to the airport for his other commute: America to Denmark. Berger is the senior litigation attorney in the United States for Denmark’s Novo Nordisk, which has offices around the world and specializes in diabetes care. In his job, Berger is conversant with contract and product liability law, but also the most important word to know in Danish.

Q. How did you get connected to Novo?

A. I started my career at the law firm Reed Smith in Philadelphia defending drug companies against product liability lawsuits, government investigations and in export control matters. I was fortunate to do some work for Novo Nordisk as outside counsel before coming over to the company in September 2010.

Q. What types of law do you deal with at Novo?

A. I manage internal and government investigations, and all litigation except for employment cases. A lot of what we deal with involves contract disputes. As with any large company we have tens of thousands of business partners and, unfortunately, things don’t always work as the parties intended. As a pharmaceutical company, we also deal with some product liability cases.


Gulf War to Brand War: Interview with Markus Hartmann of Reckitt Benckiser
Markus Hartmann is a Harvard Law grad and former Marine Corps helicopter pilot who flew during the 1990-91 Gulf War. As a lieutenant colonel in the reserves he worked as a military lawyer on a 2005 anti-terrorism mission in the African nation of Djibouti. His civilian job is vice president and general counsel North America, Australia and New Zealand for the giant consumer brands company Reckitt Benckiser. Their products run the gamut from Lysol to medicines such as Mucinex.

Q. Any similarities between an in house counsel and a helicopter pilot?

A. As a helicopter pilot, you have to have both hands on the controls at all times, and helicopters typically play a supporting role in combat. In house lawyering is similar. You have to constantly monitor your legal strategy and attorneys (both internal and external) to make sure they support the company’s overall business strategy.

Q. What is your company’s overall business strategy?

A. A big part is above-average industry growth, and part of that is controlling legal costs. Outside counsel may not


Straight Forward Expectations: Interview with Paul A. Amirata of Enstar (US) Inc.
Enstar (US) Inc. Vice President, CGL Claims, Paul A. Amirata files some motions for us on when to avoid attorneys, the Harvard of Long Island, and how much a photocopy should cost.

Q. Sounds like working in the insurance industry is actually a good opener?

A. When I speak at industry seminars, I routinely ask the audience how many people aspired to go into the insurance industry and rarely, if ever, do I see a hand in the air.

Q. Is your hand in the air?

A. Not exactly. I’m from New Jersey, went to college at Washington College in Maryland, and got a degree in business. Then I received my JD from Hofstra Law School - the Harvard of Long Island. I was working at a mid-sized firm in New Jersey in the early 1990s doing commercial litigation and had a former colleague switch careers and went to AIG adjusting environmental claims, such as pollution and asbestos. He gave me three reasons to go to work with him: my salary would be just as good, if not better; I would have weekends off; and best of all, I would get to direct the attorneys. I said, you’ll have my resume in the morning.


Use the News: Interview with Stephen McCarthy of Mutual Marine Office
ProSight Specialty Insurance’s Stephen McCarthy on how Google makes his job easier, and news events make it more interesting.

Q. You started out as an engineer?

A. Yeah, I grew up on Long Island and got my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Manhattan College. I went to work at Grumman Aerospace (now Northrup Grumman). Grumman was the primary contractor for aircraft-carrier based F-14s deployed by the U.S. Navy. We provided fleet support as well as engineering safety, reliability and other logistical support for the electronic guts, airframe and engines. At the time, I still lived on Long Island but spent several months at the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach and the Miramar base in California – where the movie “Top Gun” was based. It was a lot more interesting than pushing paper in an insurance company.

Q. What did you guys think about “Top Gun”?

A. The F-14 was Grumman’s flagship naval aircraft so there was a sense of pride when the movie came out and gave the plane so much notoriety. The running joke was that on Ladies’ Night at the Officers’ Club guys who weren’t pilots rented orange jumpsuits to attract the ladies. But that wasn’t something I did.


The Opera isn’t Over Until The Last Claim is Paid: Interview with Rich Fabian of The RiverStone Group
Q. You’re involved in a fairly unusual, niche business. You’re not an insurance company, and you’re not a law firm, but as you say, “a full insurance services company.”

A. RiverStone does not underwrite new policies. We never issued an insurance policy, and never will. We are experts at insurance run-off. We buy distressed or discontinued (runoff) books of business from insurance companies. Those books might involve policies for asbestos, pollution, warranties, workers compensation or other mass tort/latent injuries. Latent injuries and complex claims/litigation are in our wheelhouse. Our parent company, Canada-based Fairfax Financial Holdings, makes the ultimate acquisition decision.

Q. And you like the deal to go down a certain way?

A. We prefer to buy the particular book of business outright, so we have control over the decision-making. Or, better still, we buy the whole company, as we recently did with General Fidelity. RiverStone then services the book, including paying claims, collecting reinsurance, performing financial and actuarial work and complex litigation management. I think if you looked hard, you might find 10-20 companies that are solely dedicated to run-off management but all insurers are involved in providing the same services to one extent or another.


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