Executive Vice President, General Counsel
Maritz Holdings Inc.
Steven Gallant’s legal career has been one long deep dive.
“Lawyers are problem-solvers,” he said. “Because we see so many issues that come before us, our experience teaches us how to look at things differently than other people do.”
Gallant began with the intention of going into tax law, in part because his father was an accountant and in part because he was good at it. A St. Louis native, he earned his law degree from Washington University in 1984 and his LLM from New York University School of Law the following year. But Gallant eventually realized that being a tax lawyer wasn’t nearly as fun as being a corporate lawyer.
“The details and minutiae of it were such that you only were part of the overall transaction, and that wasn’t as fun to me as being able to see the entire transaction,” he said.
After two years at Rosenblum Goldenhersh, Gallant joined The Stolar Partnership, then a prominent law firm in St. Louis. In 1996, Gallant had another chance to go deeper. A client offered him a role as in-house counsel at Savvis, an internet technology company that is now part of CenturyLink. Though it was a “scary” leap, Gallant said, he took the job.
Gallant said he’d always felt that his role in private practice was incomplete. He could give a client advice, but he typically didn’t know the end result.
“I always had this lingering suspicion that if you were in-house, not only would you be in a position to be a decision-maker, you would also have the opportunity to see the benefits or consequences of that decision,” Gallant said. Once he settled into the in-house counsel role, he said, “I found out my hypothesis was correct, and I’ve never looked back.”
In 2001 Gallant joined Maritz, a marketing services firm in St. Louis that handles everything from planning trade shows and meetings to designing reward- and customer-loyalty programs.
“If you bought a car and got a survey in the mail, it’s entirely possible that survey came from us,” Gallant said.
There’s no typical day for Gallant. Maritz’s legal matters range from contractual issues to employment matters to the occasional patent application. Some of that work is done by outside counsel, he said. His role is to “provide a bridge between the business and the [outside] lawyers, because I understand both the inner workings of the business and the law.”
“It’s the ability to see the entirety of a situation and identify the various issues within that and the interplay among them,” he said.
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