As the general counsel of a company that’s grown from ninety employees to more than two hundred in its five-plus years of existence, Peter Nguyen says his role at Resolver is in a continual state of evolution. He’s charting his own course, and he says it’s important for his own well-being that he remember to ask for help once in a while.
“As a ‘soloist GC,’ I manage information from all of our offices around the world. To help streamline my process, I decided to leverage Resolver’s solution to help me manage my workflow,” Nguyen explains. “Together with the product team, we built a legal intake tool to manage requests for legal services in order to provide visibility and increase transparency across the organization as to the projects I’m working on.”
The tool proved so effective that other teams throughout the company configured the software to meet their own internal needs. From there, a variety of related applications evolved into a set of tools the company could use to not only track the company’s various internal projects and streamline work requests and workflow, but to also attract and retain clients—sparked in part by an idea that Nguyen had to make his job a little more structured.
“Personally, I feel it’s one of my greatest successes here,” he says.
Resolver is a Toronto-based integrated risk management software company that protects more than one thousand of the world’s largest organizations by helping them to reduce the frequency and severity of negative events. The company operates in eight different offices spread across six different countries, the result of more than five different organizations coming together from 2014 to 2017 under one brand.
Although Nguyen was brought on board to help the company scale up and work through mergers and acquisitions, coming into a nascent organization meant he was setting the foundation for the company’s legal department from the start.
“One of the things that helped me was to just adapt to the realities of our business,” he says, pointing out that simply handling the legal end of the business wasn’t going to be enough. “There isn’t time to focus solely on legal hypotheticals. I had to help the company understand legal risk and then help make decisions.”
“It’s been my focus for the last two years to really become regarded as just another senior member of the business team—albeit one that happens to have legal expertise.”
In other words, it was important that Nguyen integrate himself in the innerworkings of Resolver’s business model and understand as much as possible about what each department does. Nguyen manages worldwide legal and compliance, handling about 80 percent of the workload in-house and working with outside counsel when needed—but his job description goes far beyond that.
Even if Nguyen wasn’t trained in doing every bit of work involved in a typical Resolver client’s life cycle, the company relied on his expertise to flourish. Which is why he says he isn’t necessarily looking for the top law school graduates as he builds the company’s legal department. Versatility is a more valuable asset.
“I brought on people on my team in the last couple of years who weren’t lawyers by training, but who are just bright and ambitious,” he notes. “What’s most interesting is that the ones who have been the most successful are the ones who are constantly challenging me in terms of how or why I do things. They may not have fifteen or twenty years of legal experience, but they look at a problem or project through a very different lens—‘Why are we doing it this way?’ They push me. They want to do it better.”
It’s a reflection of Nguyen’s own work ethic.
“It’s been my focus for the last two years to really become just another senior business executive—albeit one that happens to have legal expertise,” he says. “I love being in an environment where people are always learning.”
Outside of work, Nguyen enjoys helping coach his daughters’ soccer teams, but even that, he says, often turns out to be an extension of the work he does on the clock. The lessons he imparts on the field often make their way back into Resolver’s office walls.
“Coaching the girls gives me an opportunity to grow as a parent, obviously, but also as a leader in the organization,” he says. “A lot of it comes down to developing empathy; helping kids understand what they need to do in the game is very similar to helping businesspeople who don’t have any experience working for us or don’t understand the legal process. From a big picture standpoint, it comes down to: ‘This is why we set ourselves up the way we set ourselves up.’”
If the company’s success is any indication, the kids—and Resolver’s partners—would do well to listen.
Peter Nguyen is not only a talented lawyer, he’s also a gifted innovator. The way he blends data and analytics into his work at Resolver is nothing short of revolutionary. Bailey Glasser is proud to work with Peter and Resolver to help solve their legal challenges.