Welcome to Settlement Perspectives, John DeGroote’s professional weblog appearing at settlementperspectives.com. Here, I explore new perspectives on settlement, negotiation, and related topics based on my experience as the Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of a global public company and, previously, as its Chief Litigation Counsel for over 8 years. I also draw on the lessons I have learned as a mediator and arbitrator and, previously, as a lawyer for both plaintiffs and defendants. While additional details about my background are below, more about why I started this site and where I’d like it to go can be found on my first post, Why Are We Here?
As I review websites I often wonder about the experiences of the authors and the biases they bring, so I feel I should disclose mine for those who want to know more. I have been fortunate to work with two “hands on” in-house legal teams, with settlement negotiations handled primarily by employed lawyers rather than their law firms. I am also lucky to have practiced in law firms with true trial lawyers who generated genuine negotiating leverage whether settlement was their objective or not. Through these experiences I have settled cases threatened, pending or mediated in about 20 states – from Montana to Florida and from New Hampshire to California – and have managed the resolution of disputes around the world. Working with and against some of the best lawyers in the country and employing some of the truly legendary mediators, I feel fortunate to have seen a real cross-section of styles and approaches. In almost all of these cases I have had the opportunity to work behind closed doors with the people who really decide when cases settle – CEOs, CFOs, General Counsel, COOs, individual plaintiffs, insurers, board members, auditors, and more.
A more detailed overview of my experience includes:
- I was named the Liquidating Trustee to the BearingPoint, Inc. Liquidating Trust by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in December of 2009, and I serve in that role through John DeGroote Services, LLC, a corporate affiliate.
- I served as President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary at BearingPoint, Inc., formerly known as KPMG Consulting, Inc., from August of 2009 through December of 2009.
- I served as BearingPoint, Inc.’s Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer from late 2008 through August of 2009, and as the Company’s Chief Litigation Counsel from 2000 through 2008.
- I practiced with the law firms of McKool Smith, P.C. and Jackson Walker, L.L.P., where I managed complex technology, commercial, and intellectual property litigation matters for and against various Fortune 500 companies.
- I served as Vice President and Counsel to First USA, Inc., a nationwide credit card concern, with responsibility for litigation and non-litigation matters on a nationwide basis.
- Pertinent Articles and Presentations:
- “Litigation Masters Series: Location, Location, Location: Arbitration vs. Litigation and Global Litigation Concerns,” Association of Corporate Counsel Webcast, December 2009 (Speaker).
- “Lawsuit Settlement: 7 Ways to Get there Faster, Better and Cheaper,” New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators and New Jersey State Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section, New Brunswick, New Jersey, October 2009.
- “‘Bet the Company’ Litigation from a Policyholder’s Perspective.” ACC Docket, May 2009.
- “Introduction to Corporate Litigation,” Association of Corporate Counsel’s New to In-House Institute, Atlanta, Georgia, May 2009 (Co-Presenter) (link includes DeGroote slides only).
- “Reduce Your Legal Fees Now: Unconventional Dispute Resolution,” Association of Corporate Counsel, Austin Chapter, April 2009 (Co-Presenter).
- “Crisis Management: Responding When Disaster Strikes,” Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, October 2008 (Panelist).
- “Reducing Litigation Risk in High-Stakes Disputes: Setting Them Up for Victory,” Texas General Counsel Forum DFW Chapter, April 2008 (Panelist).
- “Exit Strategies and Settlement Approaches: Quick Resolutions for Difficult Cases,” American Conference Institute, New York, New York, February 2008 (Co-Presenter).
- “A Policyholder’s Perspective on ‘Bet the Company’ Litigation,” Canadian Defence Lawyers’ Association Second Annual Insurance Coverage Symposium, Toronto, Ontario, February 2006
- “Taking a Proactive Approach to Catastrophic Litigation,” Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., October 2005 (Panelist).
- “Negotiation: Ten Things to Think About – A Non-Exhaustive List,” Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Dallas, Texas, September 2005 (Co-Presenter).
- “Mediation: Taking Your Game to the Next Level – An In-House Guide,” Association of Corporate Counsel, Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter, Dallas, Texas, February 2005 (Co-Presenter), and Fort Worth, Texas, May 2005.
- “Advanced Settlement Techniques & The Use of Mediation & Arbitration to Resolve Disputes,” Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, October 2004 (Panelist).
- Completed the “Improvisational Mediation” course at the 22nd Annual Summer Professional Skills Program in Dispute Resolution, presented by the Pepperdine University School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Malibu, California, 2009.
- Completed the “Mediating the Litigated Case” Mediation Training Course, Pepperdine University School of Law Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Los Angeles, California, 2005
- Served as Chair of the Texas General Counsel Forum’s DFW Chapter for 2009.
- Served as Chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s (National) Litigation Committee for 2007-2008.
- Instructor, “Building Trial Skills: Southeast Regional,” National Institute for Trial Advocacy (2006 and 2007)
- “AV” Peer Rating by Martindale Hubbell
- Previously voted as Texas Super Lawyer
- Licensed in Texas (1990) and Virginia (2001)