Andrew Prodromos recognizes how easy it is to get lost in the weeds when discussing law. But when it comes to putting it into practice as deputy general counsel and chief compliance officer of Insight Partners, he strives for an outlook that prioritizes tangibility.
“Treat your work like a woodshop,” Prodromos advises. “If you think about a carpenter fashioning a widget or a figurine, it’s a product they create. To take that into a lawyer’s context, you build both your reputation and your credibility in the rapport with the people you work with. Are you being responsive to their requests? Are you giving them useful, practical, tailored advice? When you give them markups of contracts and legal documents, are you being thoughtful, and do you know your audience? Every little bit of work you do is a creation or product that goes out the door. It has to be consistently high-quality, as both your colleagues and your reputation depend on it.”
Insight Partners describes itself as one of the largest investors in software “scale-ups”—companies that have evolved from the start-up phase into a more streamlined growth trajectory. And to make good on the woodshop metaphor, Prodromos explains that the organization rigorously adheres to a foundational set of core values: heart, creativity, a commitment to reinvention, and scrappy entrepreneurship. It’s that last value that comes up the most in Prodromos’s conversation with Modern Counsel, especially when it comes to establishing relationships with new prospects.
“We’ve always been pushing a lot of companies through their journey toward digital transformation. The last twelve months has shown how rapidly that can occur.”
“It’s getting in front of them at a conference or finding creative ways to make a connection with them,” Prodromos says. “We’ve had people who sourced a deal by going on a run in Central Park with a founder. We have a million stories like that.”
As far as Prodromos’s own day-to-day work goes, he describes himself as both a generalist and a specialist, as exemplified by the dual roles in his job title. The deputy general counsel half of the equation encompasses a wider breadth of responsibilities: everything from human resources to marketing, public-relations matters, and vendor contracts—not to mention all of the other tasks an in-house lawyer would take on at any other corporation. Because Insight Partners is also a private equity fund, there’s the added wrinkle of deal negotiations and fundraising work. Prodromos’s role as chief compliance officer is where his work becomes more niche.
“Compliance is a rapidly developing area in the sense that regulators always have new things they’re focused on,” Prodromos says. Some of those current areas include cybersecurity, data privacy, and, for European investors, ESG [environmental, social, and governance].
Cybersecurity, in particular, became an even higher-level and more complicated concern in 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sheer number of people who began working remotely created a vulnerable environment for malicious actors to exploit.
“There’s always the pioneering hacker out there coming up with the next new thing, so you have to remain hypervigilant at all times,” Prodromos says. “Cybersecurity has been a huge focus for us for the past several years. How can we be robust as possible? It really requires a cross-functional team effort within our organization.”
On Prodromos’s end, that means maintaining a high level of flexibility, responsiveness, and quality within Insight Partners’ legal team, comprised of himself and Blair Flicker, managing director and general counsel.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on being lean and mean,” Prodromos notes, once again citing the company’s core value of scrappy entrepreneurship. “Blair and I think of Insight Partners as our client, and we’re singularly focused on delivering the highest level of service to them. We have to make sure we’re always moving at the speed of the deal, which for Insight, is light speed.”
Another crucial element of Insight Partners’ legal team is their strong partnership with outside counsel at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.
“They’re our one-stop shop, soup-to-nuts legal services provider,” Prodromos says. “We’ve developed a close relationship with a core group of lawyers that works with us nonstop. That’s been immensely helpful because it allows Blair and I to focus on matters that really require our attention.”
“Cybersecurity been a huge focus area for us the past several years. How can we be robust as possible? It really requires a cross-functional team effort within our organization.”
Prodromos talks about the folks at Willkie Farr & Gallagher as if they’re coworkers. That’s because, up until just a few years ago, they were. From 2012 to 2018, he was an associate at the firm as an M&A and private equity-focused attorney. Although his move to Insight Partners broadened the scope of his work, he loves that he still collaborates so closely with his former colleagues. And they agree.
“Andrew is a very talented private equity attorney who adeptly navigates intricate and evolving compliance and regulatory hurdles while keeping his eye on the larger picture of achieving strategic goals,” says Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP Partner Morgan Elwyn.
“It’s a really symbiotic relationship,” Prodromos says.
Like most other companies on the planet, Insight Partners’ infrastructure was put to the test in March 2020, when the onset of COVID forced operations to transfer out of offices and into homes. Then again, the idea of going remote was, in many ways, already encoded in the DNA of Insight Partners and its portfolio.
“We’ve always been pushing a lot of companies through their journey toward digital transformation,” Prodromos says. “The last twelve months has shown how rapidly that can occur.”
When it came to Insight Partners’ own pivot toward digital, it was also a logical move, since so many of the organization’s team members are deployed around the world in search of the next greatest software company. There was already a remote backbone in place built from cloud-based providers, Dropbox accounts, Office 365, and Virtual Private Networks.
“I give a lot of credit to our chief operating officer, Ian Sandler,” Prodromos says. “He was pounding the table in the several weeks leading up to the quarantine, insisting that we took this time to make sure that our employees were protected and that everything was very buttoned up.” Even though we were already in a good place to begin with, we spent those weeks leading up to quarantine moving a lot of mountains and preparing as if going completely remote was an eventuality and not just a risk.”
In other words, even though the woodshop may have temporarily changed its location, the work remains the same for Prodromos and his team: delivering a consistent product on time and with care, and never sacrificing quality even during a quandary.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP represents more than three hundred US and international private equity sponsors as well as portfolio companies, management teams, issuers, debt providers, and financial advisors. Our focus is on building long-standing, trusted relationships with our clients. Willkie’s 360-degree private equity platform provides life cycle legal counsel to clients, from fund formations, platform acquisitions, tuck-in acquisitions, carveouts, and joint ventures to bank credit and other debt financings, IPOs, SPACs, follow-on offerings, and ultimate exits. Willkie is one of the few major law firms to offer deep transactional, fund formation, and regulatory compliance experience, combined with sector-specific knowledge and a commercial approach.