Nielsen Legal Department

Our philosophy is to support our clients in a transparent manner – we are not only legal service providers, we offer legal and functional operational solutions tailored to our clients` needs. Whether it is a short- or long-term need, we treat our clients` files with care, suggest alternative options and guide our clients in choosing the best possible solution for them, drawing on the experience of previous projects and trends and sharing the benefits of our expertise. The hierarchy of a business structure is much more defined than the hierarchy of a partnership. It colors a lot the way I think about my own behavior. For example, when I talk to people, I know they often hear from the general counsel, they don`t necessarily just hear from a colleague. Trying to think not only about the issue I`m discussing with them, but also about their frame of reference, is a little different from the past. I don`t know exactly what I expected when I became general counsel at Nielsen, but this is different. In a law firm, you have a large portfolio of clients, but once you walk in, you have a client. It can be a large and complicated customer that is Nielsen, with approximately 45,000 employees worldwide in more than 100 countries and many companies in various legal and regulatory regimes. I think in the future, routine work will be technologized and repetitive jobs will disappear – and disappearing could mean overseas, it might mean going to non-traditional legal service providers, but it probably won`t be done in-house or by law firms. While leading Allvue`s legal team, Mason will work with the company`s executives to focus on business growth and legal, compliance and commercial contract matters. She succeeds Roman Bejger, who is now a senior lawyer at GoldenTree Asset Management, a New York-based independent global credit asset manager.

Some things were very different from my role now at Nielsen, and others were very similar. It was more of a startup environment, the legal department was much smaller, and it was largely a U.S.-run company. Nielsen is a much larger division and a much larger global company. That said, the fundamentals are pretty consistent across the board. You try to promote the growth of the company in an ethical and compliant way, and you continue to try to be creative when addressing problems. “My immediate goals include working with the team to streamline existing practices and processes to ensure the legal function supports the business effectively and efficiently,” said Deborah Mason. Whatever your situation, you will always have a team of lawyers and collaborators working on your legal file within our firm. Contact one of our lawyers at 828-564-1321. Or send us an email. We can tell you about your situation and what you want to achieve. In a law firm, they have partners and employees.

Initially, I compared my position at Nielsen as a partner and the rest of the department as an employee. I quickly realized that this was a bad analogy! A better analogy is more likely to be a managing partner in a law firm and that there are many other partners as well as partners. At Nielsen, we have very intelligent, knowledgeable and independent lawyers who have great judgment and can often handle little or no input from me – they know how to reach me, and I see my role primarily as helping them with their work and removing obstacles and solving problems when they want a sounding board. It`s a very different dynamic from the mindset I came with. In my opinion, there are some consistencies and developments in legal services. Technology is very different today than it was the last time I was in-house, and I think technology will probably be very different in five, ten or 15 years. One thing I see in other companies – and have seen myself here at Nielsen – is that the mandate of General Counsel tends to expand. For example, I joined Nielsen as an OCOL and was responsible for the legal department. Since then, my responsibilities have expanded to include safety, corporate social responsibility, government relations and public policy, and enterprise risk management.

The work is expanding (which I love) and I think boards and CEOs are realizing that a GC can bring a variety of skills beyond just managing a legal department. People use the word innovation a lot these days, and it means a lot of different things. People naturally think that innovation is related to technology, and one potential value is that you can create data from experience, which can be useful from a consistency perspective. At Nielsen, we tried different technologies and software from time to time and also worked on creating and implementing processes to make our work more efficient and consistent. We have created model forms, knowledge management databases, and specific practices and policies that, in conjunction with training, teach our department and internal clients how to achieve their goals more effectively. We also put out tenders in some areas, which helped to significantly reduce costs at a time when our revenue as a company increased – which is a huge win. I think in the future, the pendulum will probably swing back and forth on whether legal services grow or whether more work is outsourced, but generally speaking, I assume more work will be outsourced. I think it`s ultimately more profitable to have in-house work, and if you start focusing on paying for the most valuable work – it comes down to judgment and expertise – you`ll go outside if you don`t have that at home, and you`ll pay for it.

But you`re not paying for work in the lower price segment. You will get it back or, more likely, outsource it to third parties who can make it more efficient than a law firm. Miami-based software company Allvue Systems has hired former NielsenIQ North America general counsel and former GfK director Deborah Mason as general counsel. License our cutting-edge legal content to strengthen your thought leadership and brand. The real world is not black and white – and neither is the law. When individuals need help with a legal matter, they often need the help of others. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are external online distributors of ALM`s extensive collection of current and archived versions of legal news publications.

Mobile Menu