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Home / Supplements and Special Sections / In-House Counsel 2018 / Private company with annual revenue over $500 Million Lisa Green

Private company with annual revenue over $500 Million Lisa Green

lisa-greenSenior VP, General Counsel and Corporate Compliance Officer

HOK

There are 1,700 employees at HOK, the St. Louis-based architecture, design and engineering firm. They are dispersed throughout 24 offices on three continents.

Each of them receives a handwritten birthday card every year from Lisa Green.

Green, the company’s senior vice president and general counsel, also makes sure there’s a cake in the office any time one of the eight others in HOK’s legal department observes a birthday, promotion, engagement or major life event.

According to the colleagues throughout HOK who nominated her — of whom there were 13 total — Green expects a lot from her attorneys, but she never misses a chance to build them up. One colleague even keeps an Inbox folder of messages from Green in which the GC is relaying compliments from clients or acknowledging that person’s efforts in a tough project.

“The entire legal department works extremely hard,” Green said. “It’s important for people to be recognized.”

Green’s own hard work has been recognized in part through promotions: She began as associate general counsel in 2000 and five years later took the reins of the legal department. The Board of Directors made her chief compliance officer in 2011, and the following year she was appointed to a subcommittee of the board called the Operations Committee, which oversees the firm’s financial operations.

HOK works on approximately 3,000 projects a year for 1,500 clients; Green and her colleagues review the contracts in-house. They are involved in licensure issues at the state and international level, some of which they collaborate on with outside counsel. Construction is “a pretty litigious industry,” Green said, so they handle all related litigation, too.

Green also advises the board on whether new public policies will affect the company. For example, earlier this year, when the European Union put into effect its General Data Protection Regulation, Green advised the board on how to make sure HOK was compliant.

Green drives the company’s “run-toward-trouble” approach to risk management. That term was coined by a previous CEO and describes the way the company marshals all necessary legal and professional resources to get ahead of project-delivery issues before they become major problems.

“Problems don’t get better with age,” Green said. “Rather than trying to set something aside, we take information and try to get into it and minimize issues or get them to go away.”

In 1998, after graduating from Washington University School of Law, Green began her career at Evans & Dixon in St. Louis. Her focus there was on commercial disputes. For most of her tenure at the firm, she became the primary attorney handling Walmart-related cases in the eastern half of Missouri.

Outside of work, Green sits on the national board of the ACE Mentor Program, which mentors high school students and inspires them to pursue careers in design and construction. Green helped Amy Phillips at Cannon Design to resurrect ACE’s local affiliate program about three years ago. At a recent presentation by ACE participants, one of Green’s colleagues noticed her “quietly beaming with subtle pride from behind the scenes at all that these high school children had accomplished.”

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