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Spotlight on Scott Carlson - Seasoned Virtual General Counsel

Scott Carlson headshot

When you first meet Scott, the impression you have is that Scott has handled a wide variety of legal matters but he remains humble about his decades of in-house legal experience that spanned the public sector and a top-10 public company in the world. Equipped with the logical mind of an engineer, Scott turned to law after initially designing oil and gas platforms.

FJ: What influenced you in making the decision to become a lawyer? Have you always planned to pursue law as a career?

SC: Entering undergraduate engineering school and even after graduation, I had no aspiration to practice law. After designing offshore oil and gas platforms for several years, it became apparent to me that I did not want to be an engineer for the remainder of my working career. After considering various alternatives, I settled on law because it sounded interesting to me and was something quite different from the math and science focus of engineering.

FJ: Please tell us some of your career highlights or recent “wins.”

SC: Early in my career, I was one of a number of attorneys representing local governments in a challenge to a federal agency rule that would have reduced local government revenues by millions of dollars. At oral argument, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel (the original jurisdiction for a challenge to the agency rule was in the federal Court of Appeals) had no questions following our argument. When the agency counsel approached the podium, the panel made several remarks indicating that they thought the agency had a “hill to climb.” Ultimately, agency counsel yielded back about a third of his allotted time. Not too surprisingly, we ultimately prevailed. One judge commended our brief.

At Nortel Networks, I was part of the team that developed an innovative approach to the development and implementation of software mandated by federal statute. That legal solution was a win for Nortel, the federal government, and our wireless carrier customers.

It was an honor to serve as General Counsel of Dallas Area Rapid Transit for six years.

While not totally legal in nature, a patent application in which I was named an inventor was recently allowed by the US Patent and Trademark Office. It’s fun to be considered an inventor that harkens back to my engineering background.

FJ: What are your sweet spots for client/legal issues you love to work on?

SC: I welcome most any non-litigation matter with an emphasis on the following:

  • Outsourced General Counsel – I have handled business matters of all sorts, as is typical for a general counsel, including corporate governance, transactions, IP, labor and employment, real estate, and other matters.

  • Government/Administrative law – much of my career has been spent in the public sector, particularly state and local government. I have dealt with the Public Information Act, Open Meetings Act, procurement, labor and employment, government contracts, investigations, public-private partnerships, public financing, corporate governance, ethics, and other matters

  • All types of technology-related agreements.

  • I bring an uncommon depth of understanding of private sector and public sector legal fundamentals, and I am confident that I can bring perspective and solutions where the two intersect.

FJ: You are part of the group that came over to Fulton Jeang from the prior firm. What led you to the virtual law firm concept?

SC: Prior to joining the firm, I was General Counsel of a medical device manufacturer and distributor. When the business was sold in 2022, it was time to look for a new opportunity. The flexibility offered by a virtual law firm like Fulton Jeang really appeals to me. Prior to joining the firm, I met with several firm lawyers and thought that each would be a great colleague. The opportunity to engage in a number of different legal fields – M & A, real estate, IP, business law – was attractive. The firm was upfront about the compensation structure. The firm has such an accomplished line-up of attorneys, and I am pleased to practice law with them.

FJ: Why does Fulton Jeang’s virtual business model suit your practice and lifestyle?

SC: The business model offers incredible flexibility. One can work from most anywhere. The breadth of expertise in the firm allows me to attract all types of legal work rather than simply relying on my own knowledge base.

FJ: What do you do for fun?

SC: I enjoy fly fishing and have a dream to fly fish in Montana. I am working on developing a proficiency with the banjo. Astronomy and astrophysics intrigue me. My wife and I enjoy spending time with our children and their families.

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