Experience: 8 + Years
Location: Houston, Texas, United States
Wood's Managing Counsel is responsible for undertaking all matters and all legal services, supporting the needs of the business units (and Group) with the focus on the Projects business unit for the West Region (primarily the U.S. and Canada) and ensuring priorities are aligned with the business unit's short- and long-term strategic priorities.
The role provides or secures the provision of precise, commercial, timely, and cost-effective legal counsel within the business in respect of any matter which requires it and in respect of any matter which has potential or actual legal or reputational implications, enabling the success of the business through effective management of legal risk and cost.
This individual will participate in the business unit's leadership team meetings, as required, providing counsel and mentoring on legal matters to the business leadership team within the relevant area of responsibility. The role can cover a broad spectrum of specialist areas of law on a multi-jurisdictional basis where significant experience and judgment are needed, including engineering, procurement, and construction contracts and litigation/disputes relating to the same.
This individual will be involved in executing functional strategy in line with the wider Legal and overall Group, Regional, and BU strategies. The role provides direction and management of external legal counsel and any specifically designated shared legal team resource operating within the relevant geographical region. This individual also contributes to the development of non-direct reports in the legal team.
While the role will be primarily responsible for the Projects business formal legal proceedings (litigation), this individual will also provide legal advice to the contracts team, as well as handle complex commercial / EPC / construction disputes with owners and subcontractors, and work with the commercial team to develop and resolve the claims.
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES - Managing Counsel II
- Primary responsibility for managing all construction litigation and arbitrations arising within the United States and Canada.
- The matters will include disputes with Wood's clients and well as its subcontractors and vendors, and will involve disputes for unpaid contract sums, claims for additional compensation arising out of extra work and schedule delays, back charges for delay liquidated damages, mechanic's liens, and lien actions, property damage claims, insurance coverage disputes, and other construction project-related claims.
- Duties will include analyzing the legal issues, engaging external counsel and subject matter experts when needed, collaborating with external counsel to determine case strategy, managing external counsel, overseeing case strategy, preparing case budgets, and managing the legal spend.
- Preparing various internal communications related to ongoing legal matters, including case summaries and updates, risk assessments, and strategy and settlement recommendations.
- Work in collaboration with Commercial and Contracts teams in the United States on pre-litigation disputes, endeavoring to avoid formal proceedings and settle commercial matters on the best possible terms.
- Provide strategy guidance in respect to the management of pre-litigation matters. Support with privilege and sensible document creation regarding pre-litigation matters. Support and advise the Projects business management and leadership teams on selecting appropriate courses of action regarding dispute avoidance and pre-litigation claim management. Draft and negotiate settlement agreements.
- Act as an interface between Commercial and Legal teams to ensure all matters resulting in formal proceedings have been appropriately managed to ensure Woods's best chances of a successful outcome. Manage any pre-litigation external counsel engagement, and internal approvals.
- Provide ongoing advice and guidance to the Commercial and Contracts teams in the United States and Canada regarding contract terms and conditions, contract interpretation, parent company guarantees powers of attorney, and joint venture agreements. Provide advice and guidance to Supply Chain teams on contract terms and conditions as may be required.
Advice & Counselling
- Providing ongoing legal guidance to the business unit's management and leadership teams.
- Provide ongoing guidance to Health and Safety teams on legislation, investigations, and whistle-blower laws. Participate in Incident Review Panel meetings as may be required.
- Provide ongoing advice to Ethics & Compliance team on Canadian provincial and federal privacy laws, data protection compliance, and Canadian employment laws.
- Provide reports and advice to Group Finance regarding year-end and mid-year audits in connection with supervised disputes.
- Provide advice to Group Insurance regarding annual insurance renewals
- Researching legal issues as necessary and drafting legal memos and internal briefs as necessary
- Preparing and delivering proactive risk mitigation communications to the Projects business leaders and other stakeholders, such as progressive learnings/lessons learned
- Developing and implementing targeted training relating to emerging or identified risks
- Identifying risk areas and developing initiatives to reduce risk/financial exposure
- Input to and understanding of the legal function agenda, strategy, policies, and programs in the context of the business unit to enhance business performance and results
- Clarifying business priorities and ensuring alignment of legal services, supporting junior members of the team in the delivery of legal counsel as appropriate
- Perform complex legal analysis and problem solving, research, counsel, and guidance, including effective communication of same
- Ensure the effective, timely, and cost-effective delivery of legal counsel, support, governance, and compliance
- Manages legal budgets, obtains timely estimates of anticipated external legal spend, manages approvals under delegations of authority, engages external legal service providers, and monitors actual expenditure against estimates
- Inputs/prepares for litigation/disputes; works with outside counsel to develop the claim/defense strategy, or leads disputes to resolution, including instruction and supervision of outside counsel
- Manages, maintains, and inputs into matter and cost management databases and proactively disseminates key metrics information to relevant stakeholders
- Develop understanding of legal risks and cost, including anticipating potential risk and developing risk mitigation strategies
- Provide oversight of functional legal risk and management, proactively identifying and effectively managing legal risk and compliance
- Successfully communicates and delivers strategic legal and compliance initiatives as and when required
- Manage current and new legal vendor relationships, identifying appropriate partners who can add value, with a focus on continuous improvement
- Proactively shares knowledge and experience with other members of the legal team to assist in the overall development and progression of the team
- Supports the creation of a cohesive team and organizational culture based on values and excellence in delivery which fosters innovation and collaboration, continuous improvement and change through active and regular team and individual engagement
- Captures lessons learned and contributes to progressive learning programs within the legal team and the relevant area of responsibility
- Consistently exhibits Wood's behaviors and leads by personal example, encouraging all employees to conduct their activities in accordance with all applicable laws and Wood's standards and policies
- Provides support to other BUs or Group as required
- Internal: SVP Legal West, director of legal operations, assistant general counsel, business leadership team, wider legal team, direct and non-direct reports, other Group functions including Ethics & Compliance and BU Commercial/Contracts function
- External: General Counsel and in-house legal teams of our customers and partners, third party contacts, external service providers, third-party vendors
LEVEL OF INFLUENCE & DECISION-MAKING AUTHORITY
The role holder works with a high degree of autonomy in complex legal matters and cases requiring significant analysis and judgment and as delegated by the relevant SVP Legal West. The role acts within applicable Wood/functional policies and procedures, the Legal and other applicable Group and/or BU delegations of authority, in addition to legislative boundaries across multi-jurisdictions. It keeps the SVP Legal West appraised of all material matters in line with Wood policies and procedures. Significant influence is required to counsel the business in awareness and management of legal risk.
Skills / Qualifications
- Juris Doctorate is required. Must currently be licensed by the State Bar of Texas or another state.
- Required: 8+ years as an attorney with significant engineering, procurement, and construction services experience, including litigation/dispute resolution relating to the same.
- Preferred: Construction and EPC litigation at a law firm or as in-house counsel
- Seasoned attorney with strong commercial and financial acumen and highly developed legal and analytical skills (e.g., negotiation, drafting, relevant legal knowledge, project management)
- Proven track record in managing teams
- Time management, people management and development, use of IT systems and tools.
- Complex legal analysis and problem solving
- Implementing an effective legal training regime
- Multiple legal practice areas to support the Project Business Unit, for example, corporate, commercial, construction, dispute resolution, investigations, sanctions, export controls, competition, and IP.
- Demonstrated commitment to continuous learning and development
- Leading legal operations practices
- BU/service bundle risk profile and risk appetite
- Group performance and how it can deliver and add value to its customers
- Corporate governance and decision making
- Changing regulatory environment
- Current and future industry trends
- Legal systems in all jurisdictions in which the BU/service bundle(s) operates.
- English language fluency
KEY STRENGTHS / CAPABILITIES
- Strong technical skills and practical/business-oriented dispute resolution approach
- Disseminate complex legal issues in a clear, concise, and pragmatic manner
- Meet deadlines and provide a professional level of service at all times
- Measure performance of external counsel against budgets
- Anticipates the environment, is forward-thinking, and can see the 'big picture.'
- Excellent oral and written skills
- Capable of communicating complex legal issues
- Generate trust and credibility with audiences through continuous, open, and consistent communication
- Good interpersonal skills, ability to communicate well at all levels of the organization and with staff at remote locations
Collaboration / Stakeholder Management
- Relationship building/people skills. Instils confidence and respect of peers and other functional/business leaders throughout the entire Wood organization
- Work effectively across different cultures, driving a global mind-set
- Work collaboratively with and influence key business unit/service bundle/functional leadership teams
- Consistently deliver to stakeholders
- Foster and contribute towards a customer-focused climate that delivers on expectations and strengthens relationships
Drives for Results / Plans & Aligns
- Attention to detail
- Takes initiative/proactive
- Demonstrates leadership and project management skills
- Strong problem solving and creative skills and the ability to exercise sound judgment and make decisions based on accurate and timely analyses
- Creative in the achievement of stretching objectives; does not accept failure easily
- Works independently and well in a fast-paced, challenging environment
- Flexibility to adapt quickly to new challenges and environments
- Push the boundaries to create smarter, more sustainable solutions
- Champion and drive innovation and change initiatives focused on improving quality and effectiveness
Self-Awareness & Authenticity
- Consistently model and lead on Wood's values, working with integrity, respecting, and valuing others and our communities
- Energy and compassion
- Balance of humility and self-confidence
- High level of integrity and dependability with a strong sense of urgency and results-orientation
Wood is a global leader in engineering and consultancy across energy and the built environment, helping to unlock solutions to some of the world's most critical challenges. We provide consulting, projects and operations solutions in more than 60 countries, employing around 40,000 people. www.woodplc.com
We are an equal opportunity employer that recognises the value of a diverse workforce. All suitably qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment on the basis of objective criteria and without regard to the following (which is a non-exhaustive list): race, colour, age, religion, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, protected veteran status, or other characteristics in accordance with the relevant governing laws.
Wood is a global leader in consulting and engineering across energy and the built environment, helping to unlock solutions to some of the world’s most critical challenges. We provide consulting, projects and operations solutions in more than 60 countries, employing around 40,000 people. At Wood our common purpose is to ‘unlock solutions to the world’s most critical challenges.’ Through the delivery of our Consulting, Project and Operations solutions across energy and the built environment we deliver exceptional returns for our clients, our people, our investors and the communities where we live and work. Visit us at www.woodplc.com and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.