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Utah Business

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.

Meet the 2022 Corporate Counsel honorees

As in-house counsel, attorneys have the opportunity to become fully integrated with their companies—developing short-term goals and long-term strategies. Each year, we celebrate those who guide our companies to a continued standard of excellence. Meet this year’s 2022 Corporate Counsel honorees. 

J. Gregory Dyer

Chief Compliance Officer | my529

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
J. Gregory Dyer photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What do you enjoy most about in-house work?

I love the ability to really understand our organization and how it works, and to associate with our management team and staff. I also love the ability to help shape our mission and strategy and see our organization achieve that strategic vision.

What advice do you have for companies seeking in-house counsel?

Look for attorneys who are intellectually curious (even if their background is in a different industry) and are willing to buy into your organization, vision, and purpose. 

Kelly J. Flint | Lifetime Achievement Award

EVP, Retired General Counsel | Savage Companies

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Kelly Flint photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on as counsel?

I’ve had an amazing career—with great law firms, the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee, and with Savage, a fantastic, family-owned company. Each presented opportunities to work with wonderful and enormously talented people and on fascinating and challenging projects. Without diminishing any of them, the opportunity to work with the Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games was truly unique—from the breadth of the things we had to accomplish, the depths of the challenges we faced, the lifelong friendships we forged, and the legacy we were able to create.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job? Why?

The most rewarding thing for me is contributing to the success of the company and the great people with whom I work—my fellow team members, the company’s owners, and customers.

Kirk Grimshaw

VP, Legal | Extra Space Storage

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Kirk Grimshaw photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What does success look like to you?

For me, success is much more than dollars and cents. We all want to make lots of money. We all want to get the next promotion. But for me, true success doesn’t come from one person’s rise to the top. In a company, it comes as people come together for a common goal. Notice I did not say success only comes as people come together and reach a common goal. Sometimes, goals are not fully achieved. And yet that does not necessarily mean the group was not successful…When diverse individuals can put aside their differences, strengthen each other, work together, and find common ground, we know we have succeeded. 

What do you enjoy most about in-house work?

Before coming to Extra Space, I spent approximately 15 years at two different law firms. I very much enjoyed private practice, working with various clients, and trying to help them with their legal problems. However, my in-house experience has been even better. I love being able to focus on all aspects of a transaction from start to finish. Seeing all facets of a transaction, and having an overall business view allows me to create more value throughout the entire process.

Matthew Wynn Hemmert

General Counsel | NetDocuments Software, Inc. 

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Matthew Hemmert photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

I suffered a traumatic brain injury as a freshman at Brigham Young University. I spent months in occupational therapy and years learning how to learn again. But I found patience, empathy, sympathy, and other character traits during that process that have been essential to my career. 

What advice do you have for companies seeking in-house counsel?

If it’s a company looking for its first in-house legal role, don’t just base it on a cost-savings analysis against outside counsel spend. Take the time to ensure you’re scoping that first hire in a way that’s a truly integrated partner with fantastic communication and partnering skills—not just a gun-for-hire. 

John K. Hulbert

Corporate Counsel | iFIT Inc.

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
John Hulbert photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on as counsel?

The most interesting project that I have worked on as in-house counsel was iFIT’s run at an IPO last year. Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 572 US 545 (2014) is pretty high up there, too. 

What does success look like to you?

We all have ups and downs—success to me is learning to endure the lows and relish the highs!

Amber Leavitt

Senior Director & Associate General Counsel, Head of Intellectual Property | eBay Inc.

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Amber Leavitt photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice do you have for companies seeking in-house counsel?

Don’t get hung up on finding an attorney from a “top-tier” law school. Pay attention to whether your candidates have the soft skills needed to be effective communicators with the non-lawyers at your company. Substantive know-how is obviously important, but the most skilled in-house counsel I’ve seen during my career are able to effectively interact with a wide variety of personalities and temperaments to get the job done.

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on as counsel?

The work that I do to support M&A activity from an IP perspective is always interesting, whether eBay is acquiring a new company or divesting itself of one. There’s always such a broad range of interests and personalities to navigate during the process, which, in addition to the myriad legal considerations, make it really nuanced and different from my other areas of responsibility.

Shawn Lindquist

Chief Legal Officer | MX Technologies, Inc.

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Shawn Lindquist photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

I thrive on challenges, which are really just opportunities to solve problems. Facing challenges forces one to grow and improve. My daughter once asked me, “Dad, what do you do at work?” With the older kids, I used to try to explain what a chief legal officer does, but as I’ve aged, I’ve learned the value of simplicity. My answer to her? “I help my company solve problems…kinda like the Martian. We solve one problem, then the next one and the next, and if we solve enough problems, we get to come home.”

What does success look like to you?

I view success the way John Wooden did: “Try your hardest in all ways and you’re a success. Period. Do less than that and you have failed to one degree or another.” He also taught that “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” Doing one’s best always requires extra effort, proper preparation, and attention to detail. Usually, people know what they should do to reach their goals. They just aren’t willing to do it because it requires hard work and sacrifice.

Brian G. Lloyd

Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary | Merit Medical Systems, Inc.

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Brian Lloyd photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What do you enjoy most about in-house work?

My work allows me to learn from a remarkable group of business and legal leaders whose synergized efforts have contributed to the extraordinary growth and success of the company. The dynamic industry and global platform in which the company operates creates a steady stream of opportunities to work with talented professionals to address unique challenges in our business around the world. I find tremendous satisfaction in working with our business and legal team to develop responses to the challenges that benefit our stakeholders,  patients, employees, community, and shareholders.

What advice do you have for someone fresh out of law school?

Cultivate meaningful relationships with accomplished mentors. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have learned from exceptional mentors, initially in the private practice of law and now in a global business setting. Those men and women have trained me in their respective areas of specialization, but their character and generosity have also set guideposts for personal interactions which transcend law or business. 

Mackenzie Meinhold

Associate General Counsel | AES Clean Energy

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Mackenize Meinhold photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice do you have for someone fresh out of law school?

It may take time to find work you love. In law school, I didn’t want to do anything except practice environmental law—but I’ve never been in that field! After starting in real estate, I landed a position at a solar company and there couldn’t be a better industry fit for me. Environmental issues are only a small part of my practice now, but I love the cross-sectional work of contracts, energy law, regulatory work, and transactions.

What challenges are you most looking forward to taking on next?

Getting more women into renewables! Our industry is traditionally male-driven as the prevalent subsectors include construction, finance, and engineering. I am often still the only woman on a transaction or contract negotiation. Through our women’s group at AES Clean Energy, I’m working to support the development, education, and engagement of women in clean energy.

E. Glen Nickle

Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary | Overstock.com

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
E. Glen Nickle photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job? Why?

No question: the people with whom I work. They constantly inspire, uplift, and motivate me.

What advice do you have for someone fresh out of law school?

Be open to the opportunities that are right in front of you.

Kyle Petersen 

Senior Counsel, Data Privacy & Product | O.C. Tanner

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Kyle Peterson photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job? Why?

Being a part of an organization that genuinely cares about its people. O.C. Tanner is a global recognition and culture solution provider with a mission of ensuring people thrive at work. This is true in O.C. Tanner’s very own culture—I feel valued and appreciated at work.

What do you enjoy most about in-house work?

I enjoy learning. Working closely with many teams at O.C. Tanner including information security, the contracts team, and various sales leaders around the world has allowed me the opportunity to learn how to apply practical solutions to unique challenges. I also enjoy being a contributor to O.C. Tanner’s business strategy and working alongside attorney and non-attorney team members. 

Margaret D. Plane

City Attorney | Park City Municipal Corporation

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Margaret D. Plane photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice do you have for someone fresh out of law school?

Choose interesting and meaningful work. I wasn’t sure whether I would practice law when I graduated—law school was great, but actually practicing? I chose opportunities that allowed me to take the long view of the law. They didn’t pay the most, or follow traditional wisdom, but interesting work keeps you engaged and allows the work to be its own reward.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job? Why?

Working on projects and issues that positively impact residents and visitors. Cities are complex entities that do everything from garbage collection to international event facilitation. Helping elected officials and dedicated staff creatively solve problems to make cities work is incredibly rewarding. 

Rebecca Sandberger

VP, Legal & General Counsel | Nav Technologies, Inc.

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Rebecca Sandberger photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job? Why?

The most rewarding aspect of my job is the customer service aspect of being an effective lawyer. Specifically, my primary objective at every job and for every task I am assigned is to become a trusted adviser to those with whom I am honored to work. I do so by learning the company’s business, its market and products, and the role that each department and team member plays in creating success and driving revenue. I pride myself on feedback from colleagues at all levels who have expressed, not only that they enjoy working with me, but that they think it critical to invite my participation in the earliest stage of strategy and/or project development. 

What advice do you have for someone fresh out of law school?

One of my law school professors told us that the law is an apprenticeship. He expanded on this by explaining that we would graduate from law school with very little understanding of how to be a lawyer. Additionally, he told us that we would learn to practice law from mentors who taught by example. I am profoundly grateful to those who had the dedication and patience to teach me, and it is my greatest honor to “pay it forward.” In fact, one of my favorite things to do is mentor new lawyers.

Tim Schade

General Counsel | Lifetime Products

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Tim Schade photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice do you have for companies seeking in-house counsel?

Resist the urge to segregate your in-house counsel into their “legal” world. Our executives have told me that I’m a business person with a law degree and have continually included me in all aspects of a project or a deal to make sure I have a full view of all the facts and really understand what we are trying to accomplish. Don’t restrict your in-house counsel to only providing “legal” advice.

What do you enjoy most about in-house work?

The thing I enjoy most about working in-house is having one client. While there are many internal clients, representing one company allows me to really understand how the work I do as a lawyer can benefit the business. It also allows me to closely coordinate with the “business” people to ensure we find the perfect balance of fulfilling our legal requirements, while also meeting our business objectives.

Sarah Starkey

Chief Legal Officer | The Larry H. Miller Company

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Sarah Starkey photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job? Why?

The most rewarding part of my job is our company’s ultimate mission to enrich lives. Knowing that every action I take during any given day is in furtherance of creating jobs, improving communities, and enriching lives adds a rewarding aspect to each task and project, no matter how large or small. 

What challenges are you most looking forward to taking on next?

I view challenges as opportunities to grow and learn. The Larry H. Miller Company has seen a lot of change and growth over the past two years—we completed two large divestitures of two of our largest portfolio companies, the Utah Jazz and the Larry H. Miller Dealerships. However, we have also grown through strategic acquisitions of the Daybreak master-planned community, Destination Homes, and Advanced Health Care. I look forward to deepening my real estate development and investment legal acumen as we continue to deepen our investments in these areas. 

Quin Stephens

General Counsel & Deputy Director | Utah Communications Authority

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Quinn Stephens photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice do you have for companies seeking in-house counsel?

Organizations without in-house counsel don’t really know what they’re missing. When I started with the Utah Communications Authority, I was its first in-house counsel. I was immediately able to identify small changes UCA could make that would yield huge dividends both financially and with respect to a decrease in the organization’s liability. These were all things that seasoned executives and leaders simply were not aware of because they did not have the legal education to understand some of the intricacies. I believe that a good in-house counsel pays for him or herself.

What do you enjoy most about in-house work?

My favorite part about in-house work is your investment in the whole story. As a private practice litigator, I would become heavily invested in one issue for an organization for a small window of time. As general counsel, however, I am fully submerged in all of my client’s matters and issues. It’s rewarding to me to have such a deep connection as well as to be able to see and consider the interconnection of all of the moving pieces.

Michael Swensen

General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer | ViaBill Inc. 

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Michael Swensen photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice do you have for someone fresh out of law school?

No one path is the best path for someone coming out of law school. I’ve moved around a lot in my career, searching for a path that made the most sense, and I didn’t go to a big law school. I haven’t worked at a top 50 law firm, but I’ve always worked hard in my career, and hard work is always rewarded. As you come out of law school, just take time to enjoy what you’ve accomplished and be willing to work hard in every role you find yourself in. There’s no magic to being successful. Hard, consistent work, coupled with a little bit of luck will propel you to a career where you can be happy and successful. 

What do you enjoy most about in-house work?

I love working in-house! There are so many things that make it one of the best jobs that someone could have. Working in-house has given me the opportunity to expand my skill set and think outside the typical legal environment. I love that I get to interact with our product, marketing, IT, and HR departments. The broad experience you get while working in-house is something that you can’t acquire in any other situation. Working in-house really teaches you how to view things holistically, rather than just in your legal box. 

Simeon Vance

General Counsel | Awardco, Inc.

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Simeon Vance photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What do you enjoy most about in-house work?

I love being in the trenches. To me, the difference between serving as outside counsel and in-house  counsel is that the former feels like I’m up in the coach’s booth looking down on the field—the latter feels like I’m actually on the field with the team. From the coach’s booth (outside counsel), I have the headset on, and I’m doing all I can to guide the team to victory, but there is only so much I can do. On any given day, I’m typically coaching multiple teams across multiple games. Being on the field (in-house counsel), I wear the same jersey all day, striving alongside my teammates, wholly immersed in the action, gaining a deeper awareness of the challenges and opportunities—all of which allow me to be a greater asset for the team. 

If you weren’t in-house counsel, what would you be doing?

Outside counsel! But if we’re playing the “if I could do anything” game, I would own an expedition and adventure tour company—ski excursions (heli-skiing, of course), alpine climbing, and mountaineering all over the world!

Kreg Wagner

General Counsel | Utah Association of REALTORS

LinkedIn

These are the 2022 corporate counsel honorees who guide their companies to a continued standard of excellence.
Kreg Warner photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job? Why?

Our association has nearly 20,000 REALTOR members, and I find it incredibly rewarding to be a resource for them in whatever capacity they need. From teaching continuing education classes and creating real estate forms to answering their questions on our Legal Hotline, I find great satisfaction in helping our members. 

What advice do you have for companies seeking in-house counsel?

Hire someone that desires to elevate the entire company, not just the legal department. 

To learn more about the 2022 Corporate Counsel honorees, check out the video playlist below or download additional photos here.

Mekenna is the assistant editor of Utah Business magazine and a graduate of the print journalism program at Utah State University. She has written about business, music, and culture for publications like Business Insider, Time Out, SLUG Magazine, Visit Salt Lake, and the Standard-Examiner. She loves hiking, thrifting, reading, and taking camping trips with her partner in their 1986 Land Cruiser.

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