ADR’s Benefits: CPR’s Most Recent Winner

Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 15:39

The Editor interviews John Schultz, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Hewlett-Packard.

Editor: Tell us about HP and its legal department.

Schultz: The legal department at HP includes about 1,200 people. It is responsible for compliance, intellectual property, including patents and trademarks and licensing, and contract negotiation and contract management.  About half of the staff is licensed attorneys located in the U.S. and about 50 countries around the world. Since HP is a global organization, the legal department spends as much or more time dealing with international issues as it does U.S. matters.

Personally, I have been a litigation partner in my prior career before joining HP. Most recently I was a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP in Philadelphia. I joined HP as Deputy General Counsel for Litigation, Investigations and Global Functions before moving into the general counsel role.  

Editor: Why is ADR important to Hewlett-Packard, and how have you incorporated it into your law department culture?

Schultz: There are a number of benefits to HP in using ADR. First and foremost, it is a tremendous benefit to HP in connection with our relationship with our customers, partners and outside suppliers. It shows a commitment to quick and efficient resolution of our disputes – that when a dispute does arise, our focus isn’t on that dispute per se but on preserving the relationship.

ADR is not only an important tool for us for working out disputes, but also for preserving relationships. ADR is also helping us eliminate old jurisdictional boundaries that constrained both our ability to choose law firms to represent us and how we deployed our in-house resources. There are great benefits in using a single legal team to handle matters across a series of jurisdictions. That is true in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Editor: Hewlett-Packard is a Founding Signatory of CPR’s 21st Century Pledge. Why did you make this commitment?

Schultz: For us it wasn’t so dramatically new, since we have always been committed to ADR. I saw CPR’s 21st Century Pledge as a renewal of vows and a re-affirmation. The beauty of CPR’s 21st Century Pledge is that it casts a shining light on ADR and hopefully re-invigorates it for purposes of driving it to the next level of adoption and acceptance by companies large and small.

Editor: Why is it important to systemize ADR into Hewlett-Packard’s legal practice?

Schultz: When we think about ADR, there is really no area of dispute that we confront that won’t benefit from being open to a resolution option like ADR. We are proud that we have systemized our use of ADR. Our business people and lawyers now consider ADR at the outset of a dispute. This has been incredibly important to achieving our economic goals as a legal department and achieving our business goals as a company. It has been critical to us to systemize that type of thinking here.

Editor: How has CPR supported HP’s efforts to incorporate ADR into its systems and practices?

Schultz: Having an organization like CPR providing thought leadership is critical to keeping ADR at the forefront of everyone’s minds. In addition, CPR offers educational resources, such as their website, meetings and conferences. Many HP attorneys and other professionals have taken advantage of these resources.

Editor: Why is it important for our readers to support CPR?

Schultz: I think for any initiative to continue to have legs and be successful, you need to have a certain organization that is pushing it and providing thought leadership and advocacy. In this case, that is something that CPR has been doing for decades and will continue to do. Also, it is important that the use of ADR be considered desirable by as many potential litigants as possible. This increases the likelihood that the other side will be receptive to the use of ADR.

Notwithstanding the gains that have been made, you could see a contraction if you did not have CPR out there playing its role. CPR has been the leader in this field, and it is important we continue to support it so it can continue to provide its leadership. We also value its role as an independent think tank around methods and best practices for ADR.

Editor: Hewlett-Packard received CPR’s 2013 Corporate Leadership Award. What did that mean to HP? What impact did it have on your legal team?

Schultz: This was incredibly important to the legal team and to me personally. I was fortunate enough to have my entire direct-reporting team at the dinner to share in the award and to enjoy the moment. It has continued to add energy to our team’s devotion to being best in class in resolving disputes with our customers, partners and suppliers. That renewed energy is only going to benefit the company as a whole. It helped us minimize the time we spend on disputes, and maximize the amount of time we are out there building positive customer relationships and solving customer problems – which at the end of the day is the business that HP is in.

 

 

For more information about CPR Institute, please contact Kathy Bryan at (646) 753-8248.