Executing the Perfect Legal Strategy

Domenick Di Cicco is the Global General Counsel at Cunningham Lindsey. Responsible for legal and compliance of the group and its various business units, Domenick has a vast amount of experience and knowledge to help him conquer the corporate world. With 23 years of success leading the creation and execution of corporate strategies that improved performance and market position of large financial services companies as well companies that serve that industry, Domenick speaks to Lawyer Monthly about his journey. He reveals what he has learnt with his unique experience with private equity funded M&A strategies, law department leadership & management, and business acumen including an MBA, an MPA and experience as an adjunct professor of Corporate Finance and Insurance Law & Regulation.

 

 

Regarding leadership and strategy roles, what three things have you learnt from your previous roles as General Counsel (GC) at Zurich and AGH?

I would say the following things, that:

  1. You’re are only as good as your team;
  2. Being an effective leader is supporting your team members’ talents and goals;
  3. An effective GC actively assists the CEO and the Executive team in deploying their strategic goals.

 

Can you share more about creating and executing strategies for cases such as “Bet the Company” (BTC) class action litigation?

Each piece of BTC litigation presents unique challenges. The key is to understand the risk on a deep level, communicate that risk to the business along with several approaches to ending the litigation, and recommending your strategy with clear and concise reasoning. When your defence is good, be prepared to defend it through appeal.

 

How has your time serving in the New Jersey General Assembly benefitted you in your current role?

Yes, it certainly did benefit me. That experience gave me a chance to meet a wide variety of leaders in many different realms, from the CEOs of major Pharmaceutical companies, to the leaders of trade unions. This helped me develop an understating of multilayers complex issues and their impact on many different constituents.

 

Have you taken any cases that were particularly challenging and why?

Yes, of course. We once took a very high exposure, elevated risk international arbitration on a path different from the market. We did so because the market defence had too much ‘Groupthink’ going on and that led to very routine and costly strategies. We felt the case needed a different approach. Our foresight and risk taking paid off for us.

 

What processes or strategies do you stand by to achieve the best for you and your clients?

Seek the counsel of people who are intelligent, creative, and when needed, leaders in their field. Our best strategies were developed with the robust discussion among the teams we formulated. I am a firm believer in the power of robust debate among intelligent people who have a diverse view.

What are common inquiries that your clients wish to be advised on, in relation to commercial law?

I often offer advice concerning joint ventures and how to best construct them with an eye towards the eventual dissolution of the venture. It’s a challenge to have a blunt discussion with joint venture partners on how to end the venture when the beginning of the joint venture is always through rose coloured glasses. I refer to this as the “First year in love” problem.

 

How has the industry and procedures changed over the last decade? Where do you see it going in the future?

The increase in regulatory oversight around the globe has come in both complexity as well as volume of regulations. I only see it increasing further.

 

How have your degrees from Rowan University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Pennsylvania and Delaware Law School impacted your expertise? Which would you say was most beneficial in the world of commercial law?

I am a firm believer in education and in continuing your education process. Accordingly, all of my education experience has been beneficial to me. However, if I had to pick one, it was my MBA education at Penn State University. The professors were top notch with many coming from the industry which gave us valuable insight into the real world of business.

 

Which branch of commercial law do you find the most prevalent in the current environment?

I would say that compliance is the most prevalent. It has become such a broad area that it now encompasses everything from privacy to cyber security.

 

Are any more complicated than others?

I think that cyber issues are the most complicated, as it is constantly evolving on both the defensive and offensive front.

 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have had the benefit of working with many top-flight leaders who were kind enough to mentor me and help me develop into a global leader. I enjoy the opportunity to do the same to the next crop of leaders.

 

Domenick Di Cicco

+1 813 830 7100

www.cunninghamlindsey.com

 

 

Domenick joined Cunningham Lindsey in June of 2015 as Global General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer from AIG, where he served as Senior Vice President, Global Head of Litigation Management.

He had previous General Counsel, leadership and strategy roles for such organizations as Xchanging plc, CNA Insurance, Zurich Financial Services and Alexander Gallo Holdings.  In these roles, Domenick created and executed strategies for cases such as “Bet the Company” class action litigation, Climate Change Coverage Litigation, Mass Pharmaceutical matters, Katrina and the World Trade Centre.

Domenick has served on the Board of Directors of the ARC Association and a mid-cap technology company,  as Chairman Emeritus of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, Board Member of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, Adjunct Professor of Insurance Law and Regulation at Temple Law School, Member of the Board of the Business School of NJIT, where he also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Corporate Finance, Member of the Association of Corporate Growth and Member of the American Bar Association Mergers and Acquisitions Committee.

Domenick holds a Juris Doctor Degree from Delaware Law School, a Master of Business Administration Degree from Pennsylvania State University, a Masters of Public Administration (Economic Development) from the University of Pennsylvania, a Certified Corporate Compliance and Ethics Professional and a NACVA designation as a Chartered Merger and Acquisition Professional.  Domenick also served as an elected legislator of the New Jersey State Assembly.

 

 

For over a hundred years, Cunningham Lindsey have worked on a daily basis with people who find themselves in highly stressful situations. They have learned that, when it comes to customer service, there is no one-size fits all approach.

The firm works with clients to identify risk management approaches appropriate for your business, before a loss occurs. When losses occur, they use their expertise immediately and support clients throughout the life of their claims – communicating regularly and adapting the level and type of expertise as needed.

Cunningham Lindsey tailors their products and services based on clients’ needs. So whether you’re a small corporate, requiring guidance on your risk management systems, or a large insurer with a complex, global loss, they use their experience to find a customised and cost effective solution.

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