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General Counsel Spotlight: Ed Rockwell (EPAM Systems, Inc.)

Each month we're doing a general counsel spotlight on some of the most innovative and forward thinking minds in the industry. 

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Ed Rockwell

Ed Rockwell
Senior Vice President and General Counsel at EPAM (NYSE: EPAM)

Ed Rockwell joined EPAM Systems, Inc. (NYSE: EPAM) in October of 2018 as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary managing a global team of 40+ legal and other professionals.

Throughout his career Ed has worked with top companies, including: Red Hat, Inc, Circuit City, DDN Storage, and Hewlett-Packard Company (HP). Ed received a BA degree in Foreign Affairs from University of Virginia and a JD from the University of Richmond School of Law.

  1.    What do you find most exciting and fulfilling from being a General Counsel?

Early in my career, I was a litigator in private practice.  What originally motivated me to go in-house continues to energize and fulfill me today: to be close to a business and participate in its full lifecycle, including the challenges I often supported as a litigator, but ideally also contributing to a company’s growth and success.  I have had several influential managers in my career that helped develop me as a lawyer and business leader. As a GC I aspire to live up to their example and focus on leadership not management, fairness, transparency whenever possible, and that loyalty and trust is a two-way street that any leader needs to earn first if you expect it in return.

  1. What are your biggest challenges and how have you had success overcoming them?

One of my biggest challenges occurred in my first GC role with the realization that it can be a lonely role - it was for me, and no doubt for many with similar roles, the first time that there was not some partner, GC or other legal leader etc. who might make the hardest calls if required.  You look in the mirror and it is you. It is rare that a decision before me is a strictly legal one and the role requires a balancing of many considerations. To get to the right answer, I have generally found success by drawing on the training and role examples I have had in my career, wherever possible listening before acting, but also standing prepared to act swiftly if needed.  Finally, I think an important ingredient to success is to always personally strive to improve.

  1. How do you like to spend your free time (or lack thereof)?

With my family, ideally at the beach or on a ski slope but otherwise wherever they may be.  I love various sports but I really enjoy training and competing in triathlon, running races and open water swimming races.  It gives me a great counter-balance to all the time I spend in an office and I often find that I do my best thinking when exercising.