Tell us about your background as a General Counsel and current career status…

I work at a Navisite LLC, a private equity-backed managed cloud and application service provider. We are a global company with almost 2,000 employees and a presence in the U.S., U.K., India, Asia, and Canada. Our customers are middle-market to small enterprise businesses.

To land my current role, I had made a lateral move from a start-up in Cambridge, MA. From there I started building my team globally. As the company grew both organically and by acquisition, the work and my involvement in it became increasingly more sophisticated. As I promoted members of my team, I too, was promoted.

How does your industry help define your role as General Counsel?

As a managed service provider, we have access to and handle a great deal of PII and health care data, and with that comes privacy and cyber security concerns. The Legal team is constantly keeping abreast of the security landscape to ensure that our customers receive the most secure environment available to them. The Contracts team must be able to speak to the software we use for this purpose. Legal must generally be able articulate the company’s safeguards.

How do you feel the General Counsel should act as a business partner?

As General Counsel, and as in-house counsel generally, I have always loved that this role needs to be able to understand a bit about every part of the business, and must have relationships with all of the stakeholders from Product, Service Delivery, Marketing, Sales, Finance, HR, etc., and not only the Executive Team or Board.

Legal can impact business growth and corporate culture by setting the tone in negotiations with customers where the idea is to form partnerships with customers at the same time balancing risk for the company, but doing it in a thoughtful, respectful way. If Legal becomes a trusted source of advice and institutional knowledge, then it will be more impactful and can ultimately help the company and its mission. 

How do you see the professional growth trajectory as a General Counsel?

I have always tried to push myself to get involved or lead projects that are just outside my comfort zone, in order to ensure that I am always expanding my skill set. Whether this is tackling a sophisticated equity project without leaning on outside counsel the entire time at work, or agreeing to coach a lacrosse team full of 20 kindergarteners, it keeps me on my toes.

Before I decided to become a lawyer, I spent some time as a biology major, which has come in handy from time to time while doing certain patent work in the ag tech space, but overall, I have wanted to be a lawyer for quite some time!

What is the best advice you can give for In-House Counsel?

I would say it’s best to know what drives you and ultimately what will make you exited to go to work everyday. Set goals and make sure you are working in a place where you have set yourself up to achieve them, with a management team that understand and supports that. Then, push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to ensure you have all of the skills you need to become an expert at whatever area you are in. Finally, learn to communicate effectively in the environment you find yourself in.

About Elizabeth (“Tibby”) Fogarty

Elizabeth (“Tibby”) Fogarty is General Counsel at Navisite LLC, a global managed service provider. Here, she is responsible for Navisite’s legal, data privacy, compliance, and corporate governance matters. Tibby assists in managing company equity and M&A transactions, advises on employment issues, and more. Prior to joining Navisite, Tibby was Senior Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary at CiBO Technologies in Cambridge, MA. Tibby earned both her J.D. and B.A. from Villanova University.