Committee Spotlight: New to
Tell us about your background
and your law department.
I graduated from Arizona State University with a
degree in business management before completing a joint JD/MBA degree at Boston University. I
later obtained bar and real estate broker licenses in
both California and Massachusetts. After graduate
school, I worked as in-house counsel to a private
franchisee company that owned and operated
Wendy’s, Panera Bread, and Noodles & Company
restaurants; and sat on the board of directors of a
501(c)( 3) nonprofit employee benefit corporation.
I previously worked in a solo capacity. Currently,
I serve as corporate counsel for Jack in the Box
Inc., which operates and franchises over 2,200
Jack in the Box® and 600 Qdoba Mexican Eats®
restaurants across the United States and Canada.
My work is primarily transactional, focusing on
franchising, real estate, and contracts.
What interested you in the in-house
practice of law and how did you come
to be an in your current position?
I initially wanted to work in a big firm out of
law school, but quickly realized after spending a
summer doing first-year associate work that the
rigidity of firm life wasn’t for me. By the time I
graduated business school, my wife and I already
had one child and another on the way, so we both
liked the better balance that in-house practice offered. I was lucky enough to land an in-house position directly out of law school with a company
that was a restaurant franchisee, and I parlayed
that into my current position with Jack in the
Box. They were looking for a young attorney with
direct franchise experience, and I was the only
one who fit the bill. I’d say my career path has
been equal parts luck and preparation.
What is the single greatest challenge
that your law department is facing today,
and how are you dealing with it?
Besides all of the normal issues that face any
law department, we’re dealing with a direct
assault on the franchise model as a whole that
affects our entire business. Over the last few
years, the National Labor Relations Board has
advanced a joint employer standard that has
resulted in potential additional liability for all
franchisors, so we’ve been tasked with finding
ways to reduce our exposure to risk while
still offering our franchisees value. Our legal
department has faced this challenge primarily
in the areas of employment and franchise law,
and it’s been an interesting exercise to reexam-
ine our current practices to see where we can
refine how we operate.
In October 2016, you were elected as
chair of the New to In-house Committee.
How did you initially get involved?
Shortly after starting my first job as a lawyer,
my boss encouraged me to join ACC. My first
substantive exposure to ACC was the New
to In-house Committee, and it just so happened that on the first committee call I joined,
I answered the invitation to volunteer for the
leadership committee. I figured it would be a
great way to build my resume, learn from other
new to in-house attorneys, and immerse myself
in ACC. I’ve been serving on the committee in
some capacity ever since.
I was lucky enough to land an
in-house position directly out of
law school with a company that
was a restaurant franchisee, and
I parlayed that into my current
position with Jack in the Box. They
were looking for a young attorney
with direct franchise experience,
and I was the only one who fit the
bill. I’d say my career path has been
equal parts luck and preparation.
92 ASSOCIATION OF CORPORATE COUNSEL
JACK IN THE BOX INC.
SAN DIEGO, CA, USA
NEW TO IN-HOUSE