Published in the ACC Docket by Carly O'Halloran Alameda and Olga Mack
Logan Maley, associate general counsel for Procore Technologies, explains one aspect of her job as the lead lawyer for the construction software company: “One of my jobs is to see the iceberg miles away, so that we can chart the proper course to avoid as many obstacles as possible that may lie ahead. If we are forced to severely swerve at the last minute to avoid a disaster, which disrupts our progress, I haven’t done my job.” Unlike her insightful analogy, however, Maley and her company are anything but a slow-moving vessel looking ahead at icebergs. Procore is more like a rocket speeding through the solar system and Maley is in the cockpit, moving at light speed with the rest of the team.
When Maley had her first interview with Procore, the company was already revolutionizing the construction industry with its modern and highly effective software programs. However it was a relatively small operation, with approximately 200 employees based in the Southern California beach town of Carpentaria. Maley joined the company last year as its associate general counsel — and with no general counsel, the company’s lead lawyer — the company had nearly 400 employees. Today, Maley leads a legal department of five people, serving a company of more than 700 employees and counting. Last year Procore also attained the coveted “unicorn” status — a feat where a private company is valued at over US$1 billion — and isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Maley recently took the time to share some of her background that helped her land the position she is in and her experiences that continue to help her exceed every expectation.
The total package of legal experience
It doesn’t take long talking with Maley to realize she brings a sophistication to her job well beyond her years of experience. This is attributed in part to the fact that she has practiced at a high level from just about every angle in law since graduating from Northwestern University Law School only a handful of years ago. Maley started her career as a big firm litigator at Skadden’s Los Angeles office, where she handled a variety of complex business litigation matters. After several years, she was ready for a change of pace, and moved back to her hometown of Santa Barbara to begin doing corporate law for Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth.
There, she advised companies on mergers and acquisitions, financing, and other deals. In addition to her primary corporate transactional practice, she confirmed her desire to be a business lawyer by advising young companies through the New Venture Competition at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). When a personal connection lead her to open a dialogue with a Procore executive about joining their then one-person legal team as the company’s first general corporate attorney, she was ready to make the move in-house.
Maley believes her broad experiences provided the perfect foundation to step into her role at Procore. “My experience as a litigator provides me with the ability to recognize real versus hypothetical risks,” she explains. “I make sure my business teams understand certain risks, and I try to suggest ways around those risks. But at the end of the day litigation is not an unknown to me, so I don’t have the same fear of it that some corporate lawyers do,” Maley says.
Maley’s background also equipped her to roll up her sleeves and learn about the various business units at Procore. “When I arrived, I knew it was critical for me to understand the business I was going to serve. I have advised many different kinds of companies in the past, and I know how important it is to understand the company’s goals before trying to dispense advice. My first priority at Procore was to learn everything I could about the business, talk to people in the different business units, listen to their goals, and gain their trust. This has allowed me to help my colleagues identify the right path around the land mines to reach their ultimate targets. It also has allowed me to more credibly establish a role for the legal department, and help the company see how they can maximize my role.”
The network of a seasoned executive
Maley brings with her a tireless work ethic to cultivate and broaden her deep and impressive network. She understands the value that a general counsel’s network brings to a company, and she is committed to ensuring that she leverages and shares those benefits with Procore. “I think one thing great GCs bring with them to the table is an extensive network of other accomplished people who can complement and extend the GC’s own experiences,” she acknowledges. “I appreciate the ability to pick up the phone and call on any number of really smart people who may have been in a similar situation or encountered a similar challenge to bounce ideas and learn from their experiences. It is important to me to build and maintain those relationships.”
As an example of this, Maley recently left her desk in Southern California to embark on a week-long trip to the Bay Area where, in addition to juggling the daily demands of her job remotely, she made it her goal to sit down with as many Silicon Valley and San Francisco GCs and law firm partners as she could. Maley explains:
“There is always extra value in connecting with someone in person, and the goal of this trip was to cement a number of new relationships and also have some interesting conversations. I asked a number of GCs to tell me their war stories and lessons learned in scaling their own organizations, we talked about building IP portfolios, handling employee issues, and managing insurance brokers and outside counsel. I listened carefully and then did a lot of critical thinking about how those various lessons might apply to Procore to help us grow and succeed. It was an incredibly productive trip.”
An ambassador of company culture
One of the aspects of Maley’s job she is quite proud of is her role establishing and supporting a successful company culture. As the first lawyer to serve in a general counsel role for the company, Maley has the direct responsibility to acclimate her executives and management to having a legal department. Maley explains:
“It is important to me that management views the legal department as a partner in the business. My goal is always to get us to, ‘Yes, we can do that, and here is how.’ I also understand, however, that this company is growing fast and we need to start putting in framework to be the large company we are becoming. My job is to make sure that we are growing in the right ways with the right procedures in place. I make sure ‘policy’ and ‘procedure’ are not viewed as bad words, but as tools for continuing to scale our growth.”
Just as she is establishing the legal culture, Maley also relishes her role as an ambassador of the company culture throughout the ranks of the company. “Procore focuses on three company values: ownership, optimism, and openness. These were established by our founders, Tooey Courtemanche and Steve Zahm, and we all strive to live by these principles each day,” Maley says. Maley’s embodiment of these attributes has earned her the position of “closer” on the first day of new hire onboarding.
“Every new employee is important to the company and we treat them that way,” Maley adds. “The difference between a good company and a great company is often how all the pieces fit together at every level. If all our employees feel valued and see their work environment truly reflect these company vales, they are more likely to do their best and go the extra mile to get their job done well. That energy at every level is what will continue to help make Procore successful.”
Maley adds that this focus on culture also is instrumental to her ability to effectively do her job as counsel, “Because Procore cares about its people, its people care about Procore. So, when I tell someone that I’d like to find a different way to accomplish their goal because I see a risk for the company, they actually care and work with me to minimize or remove that risk.”
Supporting a company that supports women
Procore sits squarely in the intersection of two male-dominated industries: technology and construction. But Procore has focused on trailblazing in these industries when it comes to women, and Maley is thrilled to support those efforts. For example, Procore was recently recognized by InHerSite.com as one of the top companies for women to work.
Maley also points to the efforts of a group of her female colleagues. “My colleagues, Danielle Edberg, Katie Rapp, Danielle Sandoval, and Lauren Masser recognized how challenging it is for women in the construction industry. They wanted to provide support for these women, many of whom are our clients. So, they started an initiative called Women in Construction – Empowered by Procore.”
The group recently offered free tickets to 62 women to attend Procore’s national conference, Groundbreak, in honor of the 62 years the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has supported women in the construction industry, and hosted a panel event and luncheon focused on women in the industry. “The event was a great success,” Maley says. “The women enjoyed the platform to get together, and we think some great connections were made. Procore hopes to continue to lead by example to bring more equality within our industries.”
The legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, is famous for preaching to his teams one of his mantras for success, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Maley has embodied this in her career and in her day-to-day job. She is a quick study and quick thinker; she has a tireless work ethic; and she has quickly risen through the ranks and now supports a fast-moving team at a quickly growing company. But her approach is clearly thorough, deliberate, and thoughtful. She thinks about the big picture without missing the key details. She has a calm poise that inspires confidence. And she diligently and carefully serves a company she is proud to be a part of. Maley’s and Procore’s atmospheric rise is surely not slowing down anytime soon.