When Raymond Chang noticed in the spring 2022 that a wave of key workers at DistributionNOW were leaving in a “coordinated mass exodus,” he felt the need to investigate. That investigation revealed that the employees, including a senior executive, were planning to create a competitive venture using stolen company property. The result was a lawsuit that resulted in a $9 million jury verdict. .
Lawbook founder Mark Curriden asked Chang, who has been named 2022 ACC General Counsel of the Year for a Midsized Legal Department, about his experience, what he looks for in outside counsel and his other successes at DistributionNOW.
To read Mark Curriden’s full-length profile of Raymond Chang, click here.
Texas Lawbook: What have been your biggest work-related successes since being at DNOW?
Raymond Chang: Growing the company through acquisitions. Mentoring lawyers in my group and helping them grow in their legal skills and abilities and leadership abilities — and their legal careers. As lawyers, you can achieve success in closing a big transaction or winning a big lawsuit — which I have accomplished — but what is more meaningful to me in terms of “success” is the impact you have on people you work with, especially those who work for you. I am successful because I have helped those around me and those who work for me be successful. I often say I have succeeded because I have a legal team around me that “helps make me look good” by doing such a great job for me and DNOW.
Lawbook: What are the factors you consider when deciding about hiring outside counsel?
Chang: In addition to the usual requirement of skilled expertise in the areas I am hiring outside counsel to handle, responsiveness is an equally important factor for me. For me, having the expertise doesn’t benefit me if I have to keep chasing outside counsel to do their work timely for me, or constantly having to wait for feedback/results. Other factors include having a good rapport with my key outside counsel — there are many firms that can do the work equally as well as other firms, so you want to be able to enjoy your interaction with the firms you work with and establish trust with your outside legal work.
Lawbook: What has been your best day working at DNOW?
Chang: Over the last nine years, it is probably hard to pick the best day working at DNOW. But for purposes of this, I will go with this one. Back in June 2014, we had just spun off from NOV, and [the executives] were up in New York City to ring the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange. While that was a unique, one-of-a-kind experience in and of itself, the excitement and symbolism of what that day represented is what makes that day special — it marked the beginning of our new venture as an independent publicly traded company and the promise of a bright future for DNOW. The nine years subsequent to that day have not disappointed — even though there have been bumps in the road over those nine years, it has been a nice ride so far and I very much look forward to a bright future ahead for DNOW. The people are what have made that experience special — and I really enjoy working with the women and men of DNOW.