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State Street Taps General Counsel to Succeed Veteran Legal Chief (1)

June 16, 2020, 9:31 AMUpdated: June 16, 2020, 9:50 PM

State Street Corp. will promote executive vice president and general counsel David Phelan to replace its longtime legal chief once he retires next month.

The Boston-based financial services giant disclosed in a June 12 securities filing that starting July 1 Phelan will take over the chief legal officer role currently held by Jeffrey Carp.

Carp, who also serves as State Street’s corporate secretary, will retire July 31. An employment agreement between him and State Street shows that he joined the company Jan. 3, 2006, with Phelan being hired as general counsel and assistant secretary later that year.

“While it is certainly bittersweet to retire from State Street after more than 14 years, I leave in place a high-functioning legal organization with a leadership team that is capable of meeting any challenge,” Carp said in a statement to Bloomberg Law. “David is an extraordinary lawyer and leader who earns the respect of everyone that gets to know him.”

Both lawyers previously worked together as partners at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. The law firm has been a longtime legal adviser to State Street, handling almost 25% of the company’s U.S. litigation caseload since 2007, according to Bloomberg Law data.

“Jeffrey and David are exceptional lawyers and colleagues,” WilmerHale said in a statement. “We congratulate David on his new role as chief legal officer and celebrate Jeffrey’s outstanding career.”

Bloomberg Law reported last year on former WilmerHale associate Kate McKinley’s promotion to senior vice president and general counsel of State Street Global Advisors, the Boston-based investment management affiliate of State Street. McKinley has worked in-house at SSGA since 2010.

Neither Carp nor Phelan were available to discuss the leadership transition of State Street’s law department.

Bloomberg Law recently reported on Carp earning more than $6.49 million in total compensation—including $2.46 million in cash—from State Street during 2019. Bloomberg data shows that Carp currently owns $12.41 million in State Street stock.

State Street’s 2019 proxy statement shows that Dame Amelia Fawcett, a former Sullivan & Cromwell lawyer-turned-banking industry executive serving as an independent member of State Street’s board of directors, was paid $215,000 in cash last year. Fawcett also owns $2.64 million in State Street stock, per Bloomberg data.

Other In-House Additions

State Street isn’t the only financial services company bulking up its legal and compliance group.

Discover Financial Services Inc., whose in-house legal chief Wanjiku Walcott earned more than her CEO last year, recruited a new vice president and deputy general counsel last month in Jeffrey Medeiros, who spent the past four years as general counsel and corporate secretary for the United Services Automobile Association. Bloomberg Law reported in May on San Antonio-based USAA hiring a new chief legal officer in Robert Johnson Jr.

Walcott joined Discover in July 2019 after spending almost four years as general counsel at PayPal Holdings Inc., whose law department leader remains executive vice president and chief business affairs and legal officer Louise Pentland. Bloomberg data values Pentland’s PayPal stock holdings at $8.21 million and a recent proxy statement filed by the San Jose, Calif.-based online payment systems company shows she received $11.19 million in total compensation last year, including $1.03 million in cash.

A PayPal spokesman confirmed to Bloomberg Law that the company hired Dechert international trade counsel Sean Kane in Washington last month as a director of sanctions and anti-money laundering, as well as adding Greenberg Traurig labor and employment partner Michael Mason in Phoenix to serve as its new global head of workplace relations. Mason wrote on his LinkedIn profile that PayPal had been a client of his in private practice for the past two years.

Lastly, WSFS Bank, a subsidiary of WSFS Financial Corp. formerly known as the Wilmington Savings Fund Society, announced April 29 its hire of Covington & Burling partner Michael Reed as executive vice president and chief risk officer. Reed, who spent over six years in Covington’s financial services and corporate group in Washington after having previously been a partner at DLA Piper and Alston & Bird, joined WSFS six months after it hired Lisa Washington as chief legal officer.

(Adds statement from Carp in fourth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at