Meet the General Counsel: Stacey Hanna

Stacey J. Hanna is general counsel, global ethics, and compliance at Lonza. Ms. Hanna joined Lonza in July 2017 when Capsugel was acquired from KKR & Co. She is responsible for building and enhancing a global ethics and compliance program in the areas of anti-bribery and anti-corruption, trade compliance and antitrust for the Swiss public company. While at Capsugel, Ms. Hanna focused on ethics and compliance, mergers and acquisitions, employment, regulatory, and information security matters. Ms. Hanna graduated with honors from Hamilton College in 1997 and Cornell Law School in 2001. Before joining Lonza, she worked with Mayer Brown, Pfizer Inc., and Drinker Biddle & Reath.

Andrea Malone (AM): Name a person who has had a tremendous impact on your career. Why and how did this person impact your life?

Stacey Hannah (SH): I’m fortunate to have two great mentors. I have a wonderful boss in Andreas Bohrer, general counsel of Lonza. He has great vision to enhance the ethics and compliance function of the company. He has been supportive of the changes I am implementing and I really appreciate his guidance and insight. Another mentor who has had the largest impact on my career is John de Grandpre, the former general counsel of Capsugel. He brought me on to help build the legal department of Capsugel when it was acquired by KKR & Co. from Pfizer. Despite how busy he was during that period (and we were all very busy), he always made time for me. John challenged me daily and was instrumental in helping me get to where I am today.

AM: What is one issue that keeps you up at night?

SH: A few months ago I was talking to a GC of a very prominent company who said to me if you are up at night you are either in the wrong role or have the wrong team. I don’t have either, but it was a very different way to think about this, and I think he is right.

AM: How do you select outside counsel? What can an attorney do to get selected?

SH: I select outside counsel who can see beyond the matter and want to form a long-term partnership. I have three firms that I still work with since my days at Capsugel. They all understood that I had a small team, a limited budget and a limited amount of time. They realized it was more than billable hours or the particular matter at hand. They partnered with me, and because of that I’ve brought them to my new company and expanded the scope of the work they are doing.

AM: What do you miss about private practice, if anything?

SH: I miss the comradery, being surrounded by hundreds of lawyers, which probably sounds awful to anyone who’s not a lawyer. I miss being able to bounce ideas off other lawyers. It’s very different when you’re in-house.

AM: What is the biggest difference between being in-house counsel and being in private practice?

SH: In-house, especially at mid-sized companies, you need a high-level understanding of most aspects of the law. You need to be a “jack-of-all-trades” and think about both business and legal issues, because every day brings new issues and challenges. In private practice, you need to develop an expertise in one particular area and build a niche practice.

AM: What about the handling of legal matters by outside counsel gives you the most headaches, concern or dissatisfaction? What are the things outside counsel does that make your job easier?

SH: I love legal theory, but I don’t want to hear it when I need advice from legal counsel. The biggest headache is when I ask a question and get a lengthy memo that I need to read and dissect which will always lead to more questions. I want practical, business-focused advice. That’s what makes my job easier.

AM: What do you expect/want from outside counsel with respect to innovation, collaboration, and transparency?

SH: Collaboration is very important to me. As I said, firms that are willing to partner with me are the ones that I will go back to again and again.

AM: If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?

SH: Sheryl Sandberg. I admire her ability to lead and succeed in a male-dominated industry and to do so with grace. She writes about the importance of ruthlessly prioritizing your work and I have tried to manage my team in the same way.

About the Author

Andrea Malone is the chief marketing officer at White and Williams LLP and is editor-in-chief of Law Practice Today. Contact her on Twitter @andrea_malone.

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