What Makes a Good GC?

By Alyssa Verzino

GC best practices

The crypto industry operates with different principles related to contract requirements. In this episode of Cockpit Counsel, Tim Parilla, CLO of LinkSquares, spoke with Dave Balter, CEO at Flipside Crypto, all about contracts and cryptocurrency. During their discussion, Parilla asked Balter what a good Chief Legal Officer or General Counsel means to him. Here’s what Dave had to say about that: 

 

Tim Parilla: “You've been in the crypto space for some time cutting edge. You're not a lawyer by trade, and that's one of the reasons why I actually wanted to bring you on here. When I think of a quintessential startup executive, I think of Dave Balter. 

When you think about the next generation of attorneys that you want to be working with, what is a good Chief Legal Officer to you? What is a good General Counsel to you? And, what is a good outside law firm attorney to you?” 

Dave Balter: “So many questions in there. First, you're seeing a pretty weird thing happening in the crypto industry. A lot of the law firm lawyers who are getting smarter in crypto are getting poached at scale into in-house positions. When you're saying, ‘I need someone who really understands crypto I'm going to go try to do this type of transaction.’ You start calling the law firms, and the law firms are all like, oh, call Bob over at blank and, Mary over at blank. Then, everyone you call they're like, ‘Oh, Bob went in house’ and ‘Mary went over to FTX.’

It's literally it's a bloodbath because they're all getting pulled out. That's one thing that's fascinating. 

The second thing that's fascinating is the associates now have more capability than the partners. I've called a few firms where the partner is like, ‘Listen you don't want me. You don't want to work with me. You want this three years in legal associate.’ and I'm like, ‘Really?’ And they're like, ‘Yeah, they know a lot more than I do you got to go talk to them.’ So that's fascinating to me, the inverted behaviors. 

Then let's say you could find one. I think every lawyer is probably thinking a lot about the balance of risk and return and counsel that you got to figure out what's the line. I think crypto's line is there's probably a lot more unknowns out there, true unknowns. No, one has made a commitment to this type of legal-- a true legal belief or a legal statement about this. We're just going to have to guess. So you want someone who is well-read, well versed, watching closely the market, and that's really important. 

I want someone who's in a couple of DAOs. Maybe they trade a bit. But it's much more than they're in it because it moves so fast and it's changing every day. You better have someone who's capable of seeing the movements in real-time, and that's hard. You have to commit to doing that and how many lawyers are going to say, ‘I'm going to stake my career on committing to this industry, and really understanding every day what's happening.” 

That’s just the beginning. Watch the full episode to learn even more about contracts and crypto from Dave Balter. 

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Topics: GC Best Practices