Meet the OGCs: Brian Heller

Meet the OGCs: Brian Heller

Brian Heller loves negotiating corporate and commercial deals, especially the strategic work that goes into structuring a transaction so that each party comes out ahead as a result of the proposed relationship. He has spent the entirety of his career involved in some aspect of dealmaking, leveraging both MBA and JD degrees to earn his seat at the table. “Creating win-win scenarios for companies that choose to work together is far more interesting to me than a courtroom battle resulting in a clear winner and loser,” explains Brian.

Over the past 20+ years, Brian has held numerous roles, including two stints in Big Law, several years at then-global media giant AOL (splitting his time between senior legal and business positions), and as a senior executive with GlobalSpec, a private equity-backed tech startup. “GlobalSpec was a unique opportunity; I wore many different hats – Board member, GC and SVP of Corporate & Business Development,” notes Brian. After guiding the company through a successful exit, Brian then decided to give OGC a try. “My wife Stacey had joined OGC the year before, and I was impressed by the firm’s innovative model. The autonomy, flexibility, and comradery are second to none, and it is definitely the most business-savvy group of lawyers I’ve ever met.”

The sum of Brian’s collective experience is what now defines his work as an OGC. “I’ve learned a lot about what matters and what doesn’t, especially from my non-lawyer business roles,” says Brian, “and I regularly use these lessons to help my clients prioritize contractual issues and identify creative solutions that can be used as bargaining chips at the negotiation table, so that we can get deals done more efficiently.” This approach has served Brian well in his technology-focused practice, which has evolved alongside the industry itself. “Early in my career, I found myself handling a lot of digital media, e-commerce and advertising work, (e.g., data licensing, content licensing, and software deals), and of course, now I do a lot of work with Software as a Service (SaaS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) clients.”

Brian jokingly adds, “I honestly thought I’d come to OGC for a year or two, and then move on to another business role in the tech industry.” What has kept him here – and the reason he loves being an OGC – is the opportunity to work with such a diverse portfolio of technology clients as both a legal and (albeit unofficial) business advisor. “As a tech transaction lawyer, you always have to be ready to pivot – it never gets boring – plus, there is a huge premium placed on thinking outside the box.” On this last point, Brian recalls a pivotal moment early in his career: “we were doing some business modeling for a proposed transaction, and the numbers weren’t adding up, so I (very diplomatically) asked the CEO why we were doing the deal. His answer revealed so much about the importance of looking at problems from new angles, ignoring “group think,” and finding ways to achieve goals in unconventional ways. I strive to be that kind of mentor to my OGC clients whenever I can.”

More about Brian Heller
Brian has been a prolific contributor to OGC’s blog, offering practical and pithy advice to both business and legal audiences in his widely-read thought leadership articles. He also has served on the firm’s business committee. In his spare time, Brian enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and volunteering, including as a mentor to students at MIT seeking to start their own businesses (providing free legal services to student startups), and an advisor to Chess 4 Charity, a nonprofit organization founded by Brian’s children (which to date has raised over $75,000 for children’s hospitals).

This publication should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances not an offer to represent you. It is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your attorney concerning any particular situation and any specific legal questions you may have. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

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