For 28 years, Joe Davidson has worked as an in-house lawyer at Rice University and is GC of Rice Management Company, the entity that includes Rice’s $7.8 billion endowment, which provides about 40 percent of the university’s operating revenues. His list of successes is long.
Mark Curriden, founder of The Texas Lawbook, had the opportunity to ask Davidson about diversity and the role that it plays in hiring outside counsel.
Texas Lawbook: What do you look for in hiring outside counsel? Do you have specific criteria?
Joe Davidson: I consider outside counsel an extension of our internal legal team, so I focus on developing long-term relationships with counsel able to interact directly with the business teams. The ability to deliver timely, practical and creative advice — and to think about how to do it better next time. Creative problem solving coupled with strong, substantive legal knowledge. Communication is key as an integral part of the team. Leadership and team skills round it out.
Lawbook: What does outside counsel need to know about you?
To read Mark Curriden’s full-length profile of Joe Davidson Click Here.
Davidson: I am on the team and hold myself to the same, if not higher, standards. I enjoy learning new areas of the law, learning more about what I do know and meeting and working with people who are more knowledgeable and better practitioners.
Lawbook: How important is diversity within your legal department in determining your outside counsel?
Davidson: As a person of my vintage and with my background, I have long been conscious of the impact of diversity and what it may contribute. Under the leadership of the university’s new general counsel, Omar Syed, the office is pursuing Mansfield Rule certification.