Senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, Tech Data Corporation
Tech Data Corporation was founded in 1974 and began expanding rapidly in 1983, developing its target markets and redirecting its efforts toward servicing microcomputer resellers as a wholesale distributor. The company has emerged as a leading global provider of IT products, logistics management and other value-added services. Based in Clearwater, Florida, Tech Data and its subsidiaries operate in 26 fulfilment centres in the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. With more than 90,000 customers in over 100 countries, Tech Data generated $21.4 billion in sales for its fiscal year ended 31 January 2007.
David Vetter received his BAs in English and Economics from Bucknell University and his JD from the University of Florida. He was a partner at Robbins Gaynor & Bronstein PA law firm, joining Tech Data in June 1993 as vice president and general counsel. In April 2000, Vetter was promoted to corporate vice president and general counsel. Three years later he became senior vice president, and in July 2003 he was appointed corporate secretary.
Robbins, Gaynor & Bronstein PA, St Petersburg, Florida.
We have a total of 18 people. In the US, there are five attorneys, two paralegals and one executive assistant. In Europe I have seven attorneys in Germany, two in France and one in the UK.
The vast majority of the work is transactional or contract and this is done almost entirely in-house.
In-house counsel have a much deeper knowledge of the capabilities and needs of the business and can draft the contract in a manner more aligned with the business goals.
Research the company and the executives as extensively as you can. Make sure you have a very broad-based knowledge of the law and are willing to live in a fast-paced environment where you cannot research every question as deeply as you would like.
The client walks in to your office, sits down and wants an answer right now and it has to be right. You have to really focus on prioritising the work and focus on only the highest-value work. In a law firm, you do all the work that is accepted by the firm. In-house lawyers have to say, “I can’t do that right now.” You are on your own sometimes. This means you have to make good decisions on risk and what you can focus upon, and dive into the important thing.
Great organisational and prioritisation skills, good people skills, a strong desire to help people accomplish goals and a very quick mind.
We primarily hire the individual lawyer, but for certain projects the overall firm quality and resources are critically important. For instance, in cross-border M&A we will need firms that can provide high-quality service in multiple jurisdictions.
Our SEC counsel is Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York. We have designated labour counsel and ERISA counsel. Beyond that we pick firms by project.
Identifying efficient ways to stay current with changing regulatory and legal environments and focusing this information for individual clients. There is so much information out there about legal changes, but little has been done to provide an effective screening for a specific client’s needs and concerns.