Philip Paccione has won prestigious awards for his work as general counsel of Skechers—for which he has been the only GC, helping to lead the company from startup to shoe-industry staple. Yet, he’s the kind of man who insists on describing his career path as “typical.”
A: In a law firm, a lawyer is a celebrity. The lawyer is what’s making money. In a company, a lawyer is a necessary evil. In a footwear company, the celebrities in the company are the people who are innovative and designing your product, and if they have to deal with you, you’re taking time away from them. A lot of lawyers do not understand that A) in a company, nobody really cares that you’re a lawyer, and B) that the function of the company is not to practice law—it’s to provide goods and services. You’d be surprised how many in-house people run into that problem when they come from the outside.