Interview with Mary Jones-LSU Tiger Fan Extraordinare

by Thomas Fox
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Ed. Note-we continue our series of interviews with thought leaders in the compliance arena. Today we post an interview with frequent contributor and lifelong LSU Tiger fan, Mary Shaddock Jones

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1.         Where did you grow up and what were your interests as a youngster?

I grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  My interests as a youngster have remained with me through adulthood.  I love photography, fishing, hunting and hanging out with my family.

2.         Where did you go to college and what experiences there led to your current profession?

I went to Louisiana State University for both my undergraduate and law degree.  I knew law was for me when I made a 100 out of 100 on one of two tests given by a business law professor as an undergraduate.  He had taught both my father and my brother.  He was a legend at LSU (not the law school).  I was the only person he ever taught who scored a perfect 100 on his midterm test.  I wasn’t a popular student in the class after that- as I totally blew the curve.  But from that moment on, I loved the law.  I graduated and went straight to law school.

3.         Can you tell us about your corporate, in-house career and how got into FCPA compliance? 

I have had an interesting career and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed.  I started out in private practice, but was hired within a few years to work at Hollywood Marine (Barge and Towing Company).  I worked with them as General Counsel for 6 years.  After we had our second child, I decided that I should try and spend more time at home with them.  I learned that I wasn’t cut out for the rigor of being a stay-at-home mom.  Anyone who says moms who stay home “don’t work”- have never tried it).  So I was recruited by one of my best friends to work with her at First Wave Marine (shipyard).   After a few years, I was given the opportunity to work at McDermott, International as the Director of Insurance overseeing their worldwide insurance program.  I first became really aware of FCPA while at McDermott.  In 2005 our children were entering middle school.  We decided it was the prime time to move back to my hometown of Lake Charles-before they entered high school.  So in 2005, my husband and I both resigned from our jobs and moved without jobs to Lake Charles.  We took a huge risk, but felt like this is where God really wanted us to be.  So we took the plunge.  I had planned on going back into private practice at that time with a focus on marine work.  I had worked for a barge and towing company, a shipyard and an oil and gas construction company.  I was ready to tackle maritime law on my own.   I knew that the one client I really needed to secure was Global Industries, since they were one of the largest marine construction companies in the Lake Charles area.  I met with the General Counsel, who ended up being my friend and mentor- Russ Robicheaux.  Instead of opening up my own law firm- Russ hired me as Assistant General Counsel and the rest is history.   Unfortunately, in 2010 the Executive Management wanted all to consolidate its management team back in Houston.  Our children were in high school and unwilling to move and I was unwilling to live apart from my family or commute- so in June 2011, I resigned from Global Industries and started my own law firm.   Starting from scratch at 52 was a challenge- but I have successfully completed a year and a half and have loved every minute of it.

4.         You were part of the in-house team that worked on the Global Industries FCPA investigation relating to the Panalpina case. Can you describe what you did and how Global was able to achieve the result that it did in that process?

My job was to run the day to day investigation and interface with the various law firms and accounting firms who were involved in the investigation.  I did a lot of leg work on a daily basis- collecting, organizing and analyzing documents, invoices, contracts, etc from many parts of the world.  One thing I learned with the investigation is that once an FCPA investigation is opened, it often morphs into much more than the one issue that initially sparked the investigation.  It was a full time job.  I interfaced daily with the General Counsel on various matters related to the investigation.  I believe that there are several reasons why the investigation resulted in no action from the DOJ and the SEC.  the General Counsel and I have given numerous seminars on this topic. To fully discuss the reasons would take up much more than my allotted space today! But to summarize- I think there were the following factors:  1) The immediate response that the executive management at Global took once it learned that there was a possible FCPA violation; 2) the comprehensive compliance program that existed at Global both prior to the investigation and improved upon during the investigation; 3) the thoroughness of the investigation by counsel for the Audit Committee; 4) the overall findings related to a very expansive investigation into the use of freight forwarders not only in Nigeria and Angola, but in many parts of West Africa; and 5) the facts that the Company self reported.

5.         While you are not the most rabid LSU fan I have ever met, you are right up there at the top. For those reading this post, who live outside the South, can you explain the intensity of attending a LSU home game in Tiger Pit?

First of all- I am not sure what Tiger Pit is- the correct name is –DEATH VALLEY!  The feeling of being in Tiger Stadium, aka Death Valley is hard to describe.  The stadium is huge so the sheer number of fans is overwhelming.  You have to walk up lots of ramps to get to the inside of the stadium.  When you finally make it to your seat- the view is breathtaking.  And when the Band walks out and plays the fight song! Tears come to my eyes.   Everyone should experience TIGER STADIUM once in their lifetime!

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Mary Shaddock Jones has practiced law for 25 years in Texas and Louisiana primarily in the international marine and oil service industries. She was the first woman to earn TRACE Anti-bribery Specialist Accreditation. Mrs. Jones has extensive experience in creating and designing compliance programs to reduce the risks of such violations, including policies and procedures, educational and training materials and programs, contract provisions and due diligence protocols. She implements and works with in-house counsel and compliance vendors to execute compliance policies and training programs tailored to the client’s business structure and the market conditions in the client’s target countries.  She can be reached at 337-513-0897 or via e-mail at msjones@msjllc.com.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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