Of Counsel, Blank Rome
B.A. Political Science, Brigham Young University
"Best Practices" the focus for former General Counsel
A specialist in corporate governance, Dennis Codon counsels businesses across the country. "I like the variety of clients and the opportunity to deal with multiple issues," he said. "To spend a full day with the board of a major company helping them establish 'best practices' is very rewarding."
View the Insider Exclusives video interview with Dennis Codon from the "Southern California's Premier Law Firms" series
Not too long ago, Codon sat on the other side of the table - as in-house counsel. At Unocal, as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel, he led major expansion efforts for the company's law department, placing lawyers in Viet Nam, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. Early in his career, Codon found himself in the midst of one of the hottest hostile corporate takeover firestorms of the 1980s when Mesa Petroleum attempted to acquire Unocal. During the ensuing legal battle, Codon's life became a marathon of red-eye flights and endless days. Eventually, with Unocal winning the war but over $4 billion in debt, Codon was handed the task of providing legal counsel to the company's financial group to economically manage the burden. "The experience played a major role in my personal development," Codon recalled. His dedication and leadership was recognized by a number of organizations, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association that named him Outstanding Corporate Counsel in 2001.
Codon originally joined Unocal in 1974 and worked in the legal department while completing his law degree through Southwestern's evening program. He rose steadily through the ranks and was ultimately appointed Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of Unocal Corporation in 1992. In 2002, he was named Senior Vice President. Two years later, Codon left the oil industry to become a partner at Robins Kaplan,Miller & Ciresi.
Codon also finds time to give back to the community, recently as President of the Alliance for Children's Rights, and as incoming Chair of Southwestern's Board of Trustees. "My Southwestern experience has meant everything to me," Codon said. "I studied under some extraordinary professors, and I will always be grateful for the tremendous opportunities my legal education has made possible."