Career Spotlight: Ray Fortin (JD 77), Corporate Executive VP & General Counsel, SunTrust Bank
Ray Fortin Size of staff and areas of responsibility:
I am responsible for legal, compliance, corporate governance and regulatory affairs. We have 45 in-house lawyers with an additional staff of 100 focused on compliance and administrative tasks.
How did you come to concentrate on corporate law as opposed to other practice areas?
I have concentrated on corporate/securities law mainly because I find business interesting, and I don’t really have the patience for litigation. The corporate legal environment has changed a great deal over the past few years. There are certainly more rules, which are being applied with less flexibility and harsher sanctions. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act has complicated the daily life of a public company, and has driven an increase in accounting and regulatory expense.
How has the relationship with out- side counsel changed?
Our outside lawyers are valuable partners for SunTrust, and we strive to develop meaningful relationships with them. When hiring a law firm, we look for expertise, efficiency and effectiveness.
How did the UF College of Law help prepare you for this career path?
I think law school can be a very valuable prelude to a career in corporate life. My time in law school spent focusing on the more rigorous commercial courses has been invaluable to my career. The effort put into corporate, UCC, tax and other commercial courses gave me analytical skills and basic information that I use every day. The legal profession is competitive and the business world is very demanding of its lawyers. Competition requires intensive preparation and UF Law afforded a good foundation.