As part of Ropes & Gray’s ongoing Business of Diversity discussion series, government enforcement partner Alexandre Rene (Washington, D.C.) led a conversation with Piyush Sharma, Deputy Compliance Officer, Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Programs at Hess Corporation, at the firm’s New York office on April 10. Attended by attorneys and staff, the event offered a candid look at diversity – and the firm-client relationship – from a client’s perspective.
Following a brief discussion of Mr. Sharma’s background and career highlights, Mr. Rene asked Mr. Sharma to elaborate on how Hess manages diversity. Mr. Sharma explained that Hess is committed to diversity organizationally, and that his own group reflects this commitment. He noted that this principle guides the company’s work with outside counsel, as well, and that Hess looks to retain firms that are diverse – both in terms of their personnel, and in the skills, backgrounds and experience that members of the legal team bring to the table.
Broadening the conversation to other aspects of the relationship between law firms and clients, Mr. Rene asked Mr. Sharma to describe the qualities he looks for when selecting outside counsel. Mr. Sharma explained that he values attorneys who understand his company’s business and needs, who earn his trust through their work, and who are responsive and provide clear guidance. He also cited effective communication and time management skills as critical elements in a successful relationship between a law firm and client.
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