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ICF’s legal eagles capture industry praise from the Washington Business Journal

Sep 14, 2020
3 MIN. READ
Team named “Outstanding Legal Department” 

A good legal team is known for winning things. But awards are not usually one of them. And yet...ours just did. The Washington Business Journal (WBJ) recently named its top Corporate Counsel Awards honorees, and ICF topped the list.

“This award represents a true team effort,” says Jim Daniel, who has led the department since 2013. Including an initiative—started back in 2014—to untangle and eliminate 34 legal entities that made up ICF.

Complex means to a simplified structure

ICF has a long history of organic and acquired growth. And about six years ago, “we learned that an ICF legal entity we eliminated years ago was still active in one U.S. state,” Jim explains. This bolstered our efforts and the streamlining process. Rose Jones, our director of legal affairs, led the charge, eliminating inactive and redundant legal entities, even as ICF continued to add more identities through acquisition (over two dozen since 2015—and eight in 2019 alone!).

This in addition to handling the 300+ legal issues a company of this size is expected to manage in any given year.

A better system of checks and balances

A parallel—ongoing—initiative identifies efficiencies companywide. Matt Selander, our associate general counsel, and Tia Augustin, internal auditor, led the effort until the COVID-19 pandemic caused business travel to cease. They conducted onsite visits to approximately 25 of ICF’s 70 locations worldwide. At each one, they evaluated and advised on operations for up to 12 areas relating to human resources, contracts, accounting, and more.

These visits provide an opportunity for ICFers far and wide to connect with our home office in a way they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. And our Fairfax team takes home valuable lessons. “Our visit to one of our Canadian offices resulted in some key functional integrations across ICF’s accounting, human resources, and finance functions,” says Tia. In other cases, the site visits provide management assurance that key ICF systems or functions are operating effectively. “But my favorite part is meeting individual ICFers—getting to know them and understanding the great work each one does,” said Matt.

We conducted onsite audits at ICF locations in 12 countries on five continents to assess the overall health of the business.

“This program demonstrates how our legal team helps ICF manage risk across the organization,” Jim adds.

Our internal innovation didn’t end there.

Due diligence for strategic growth

The department helps with rationalizing legal elements of ICF and plays a major role in the acquisition process. Earlier this year, ICF acquired ITG, a leading provider of cloud-based platform services to the U.S. federal government. Behind the scenes, our legal department—including Matt and Crystal Jones, who manages legal and business issues involving intellectual property and technology—played a major role in due diligence, completing the transaction and legal and governance integration activities. Their efforts eased the transition.

Growing a diverse team

WBJ also recognized our legal team’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a team who strives to be an inclusive organization more broadly, they are proud to be part of the Association of Corporate Counsel National Capital Region Corporate Scholars Program and Minority Corporate Counsel Association (ACC NCR).

The program helps diversify the legal profession by placing qualified law students in internships at esteemed legal departments. Ours stands out due to the wide range of corporate and operational legal issues the department handles. We have also recruited directly from this program and its pool of excellent candidates.

Learn more about working at ICF.

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