Career path: Harvard Law School; corporate attorney at law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson focused on M&A and private equity investments; joined Rho Capital as General Counsel in 2001.
Why in-house? Martin was opportunistic about joining a private equity firm. ?I was actually a happy law firm lawyer – a very rare breed,? he says of his time at Fried Frank. Martin was interested in going in house only as a general counsel. ?I didn’t want to be anybody’s assistant,? he says. ?From time to time headhunters would call me and I’d tell them, look, don’t call me unless it’s about [a general counsel] job. They’d say, ?You’ll never find that.??
Instead, a general counsel job found Martin – a former client who moved to Rho alerted Martin to the opportunity. Martin says he was impressed with the firm’s long and successful track record.
Responsibilities: Rho Capital operates a fund of funds, a small later-stage program and venture capital funds. Martin spends most of his time working on legal issues related to the firm’s venture capital program. His work gets more intense as deals get closer to completion. ?It’s nice because I get more involved in deals that we actually complete, as opposed to the hundreds of deals we do lots of work on and never do,? Martin says. Martin also helps coordinate the legal work of outside law firms. ?They do the lion’s share of legal due diligence,? he says. ?I make the call on whether or not something is worthy of digging into.?
Martin also is involved in many administrative aspects of the firm. ?At a venture capital firm, people travel a lot,? he says. ?I used to travel a lot when I was at Fried Frank, but when I got here, I was the stationary person. Since I’m the person who’s always here, there’s a natural gravitation toward administrative and operational issues.?
Go-to guy: One of the aspects of being in-house counsel at a private equity firm that Martin did not expect was the frequency with which he is asked to help out when ?something odd comes up. If something comes in and it’s no one’s core competency, it falls to me. It doesn’t have to be a legal matter. If it’s a special situation, I always get called into it.?