Texas Lawbook Premium Bonus Content: Q&A with Chevron Senior Counsel Alyssa Schindler
The Texas Lawbook provides unique and substantive content to our Premium subscribers. In this interview, Chevron Senior Counsel Alyssa Schindler provides personal insight into her life, how she selects outside counsel and key things outside counsel should know about her.
You can see Mark Curriden’s full feature profile of Alyssa Schindler here.
The Texas Lawbook: Any life or career mentors?
Schindler: I’ve been fortunate enough to have several mentors over the course of my career. I think my earliest mentor was my grandfather. He was … not an easy man. But to this day, he is still one of the smartest and most educated men I have ever known – and he did it all on his own. A true auto-didact, he was never without a book in his hand, and usually C-SPAN running in the background, too. Politics, history, philosophy, economics – he just devoured knowledge. As a kid, he and I would have long conversations on topics ranging from the history of Rome to the origins of the free market philosophy. In my first year of law school, he asked me what I was studying. When I told him constitutional law, his first question was whether we had covered Marbury v. Madison yet. He was one of my earliest role models of a love of learning, and most importantly, that learning shouldn’t stop just because your formal education does.
The Lawbook: What do you look for in hiring outside counsel? Do you have specific criteria?
Schindler: A couple of different things. A focus on solutions. Creative thinking. Understanding of the business or a willingness to learn about it. A commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The Lawbook: What does outside counsel need to know about you?
Schindler: Probably most relevant to this discussion is the fact that I view pro bono partnerships as a relationship building opportunity. If we are partnering with a firm on a project, the firm should use that as an opportunity to staff the project with attorneys that they would like us to consider for work in other areas. We also pay attention to how the firm attorneys treat a pro bono client. Are they responsive to the pro bono client and to us? That is going to inform how we would view working with them in a billable context. By the same token, when we have successful partnerships, or when I get the opportunity to work with a firm lawyer on a pro bono case that really impresses me, I am going to do what I can to make sure that we build on that partnership for billable work.
The Lawbook: How many outside firms do you work with at Chevron and does it impress if they demonstrate their pro bono programs are strong? In other words, does it help law firms get hired by you and Chevron if they have strong pro bono efforts?
Schindler: As a global company, we work with a lot of different outside firms. A commitment to pro bono service definitely makes a difference, but I think it is even more compelling when a firm is proactive in coming to Chevron with proposals for partnership in the pro bono space – like the partnership we had with Norton Rose. Particularly when it comes to direct representation, we wouldn’t be able to take on some of the commitments without our law firm partnerships.