Scott Silverstein, a principal at Deloitte LLP, serves as associate general counsel and lead counsel for Deloitte’s federal government practice.
Prior to joining Deloitte in 2004, Mr. Silverstein was an associate with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP. and before that he was also an associate with LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP from 1998 to 2000.
Silverstein recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about the firm’s recent acquisition of IE Discovery, the changing role of the federal practice’s legal counsel and why he enjoys working at Deloitte.
ExecutiveBiz: How has the role of the federal practice legal counsel changed since you first joined Deloitte? As industry competition and regulation increase, how can the legal department increase Deloitte’s competitive advantage in the federal market?
Scott Silverstein: It has changed a great deal. The increase in regulation, oversight and enforcement impacting the federal contracting industry has generally required federal contractors to implement new ethics and compliance-based programs, and enhance those programs already in existence. At Deloitte, our lawyers are an important part of these programs, working hand-in-hand with our compliance and risk management teams and our business professionals to maintain and execute a strong compliance program. These days, in addition to contract issues and procurement-related advice, an important part of each of our federal lawyer’s daily practice includes support of our ethics and compliance programs. Clearly, it’s more important than ever that our lawyers have a diverse set of areas of practice, and that we work more closely than ever with our business professionals.
In terms of a differentiator from a competition perspective, I believe we make a difference by identifying issues early in the procurement process, and then by working with our internal clients to develop innovative solutions that comply with requirements. I am also a firm believer that a strong compliance program itself can be a differentiator in the federal marketplace, particularly as such programs can ultimately improve the quality of our services.
Finally, these past eight years since I joined Deloitte have been exciting times for our federal practice. Our federal practice has grown rapidly, both from a pure size perspective as well as the number of agencies we serve and the array of professional services we provide to our clients. I was the only in-house lawyer supporting our practice in 2004; now, I am managing a team here in Washington and working with over 6,500 professionals in our federal practice.
ExecutiveBiz: What areas of overlap exist between your work in federal guidance and your work in mergers and acquisition guidance?
Silverstein: Deloitte continues to be an active and aggressive participant in the M&A space, having acquired a number of businesses that complement and expand the services we offer to our clients. Specifically, our 2009 acquisition of the assets of the public services group of BearingPoint which reflected a bold investment in our federal practice, and catapulted Deloitte to become a leading federal contractor.
We have a very strong legal team that supports Deloitte’s M&A efforts, and I have the privilege of being part of the team when we are pursuing acquisitions for our federal practice. Acquisitions in the federal marketplace can be challenging in light of certain regulatory restrictions applicable to the transfer of federal contracts, as well as requirements that impact acquisitions of small businesses. Our Office of General Counsel attorneys collaborate closely to leverage our expertise and provide practical advice and guidance to our internal clients. I expect to work with our M&A lawyers more in the future as the Federal Practice pursues transactions that further our ability to provide our clients innovative solutions and services.
ExecutiveBiz: How will Deloitte’s acquisition of IE Discovery affect your legal department and your job as lead counsel? How do you expect it to boost Deloitte Federal’s capabilities?
Silverstein: Our acquisition of substantially all of the assets of IE Discovery evidences Deloitte’s commitment to serve as a leading, world-class provider of electronic discovery management and litigation support solutions to the federal government. This acquisition enhances and complements our existing forensic and discovery services and will result in more than 100 dedicated professionals joining Deloitte. There’s an increase in demand for such services, particularly in light of the increased litigation portfolio that many agencies are encountering. Our Office of General Counsel is supporting the integration activities.
ExecutiveBiz: Having worked with Deloitte for eight years and been outside counsel prior to that, what has changed and what has stayed the same that continues to make Deloitte a great place to work?
Silverstein: I certainly agree Deloitte is a great place to work. First off, I consider myself extremely fortunate to be part of an organization made up of so many talented, smart, dynamic people where every day I learn something new. From day one this has been a fun place to work, where creativity is encouraged. It’s also rewarding to work with our professionals and be a part of their mission to assist our clients each and every day. They take that mission very seriously. So, I’d say the one constant at Deloitte is the quality of our people.
One quick note on our Office of General Counsel. It is a privilege to work with so many outstanding attorneys and to work for an organization that values its legal support as much as Deloitte does. We continually focus on seeking ways to develop each lawyer’s practice and expertise so that our lawyers are a strong value-add to Deloitte’s business. Deloitte’s General Counsel Bill Lloyd really encourages our lawyers to work closely with our business professionals, which allows our lawyers to better understand the businesses they support and thus provide practical advice. We also really work hard to mentor our more junior attorneys.