The United States Law Week

USAA Names Former First Data Lawyer Interim Legal Chief

Feb. 14, 2020, 10:31 AM

The United Services Automobile Association, the financial services conglomerate better known as USAA, has picked a new top lawyer to replace Deneen Donnley, who left last month to become Consolidated Edison’s general counsel.

Neil Wilcox, who has served as a senior vice president and general counsel of Enterprise Shared Services at USAA since joining the company in mid-2018 from payment processor First Data Corp., has been named interim chief legal officer, a USAA spokeswoman confirmed to Bloomberg Law.

USAA, which is based in San Antonio, Texas, is conducting a search for a permanent replacement for Donnley, who had worked at the company since 2010. The USAA spokeswoman was unable to confirm whether Wilcox is being considered as a full-time candidate for the position. Wilcox, who as interim legal chief is now a member of USAA’s executive council, did not respond to a request for comment.

Wilcox, like Donnley, is also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Both lawyers have been vocal advocates for diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Wilcox, who is also active with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, began his career at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in New York.

After private practice, Wilcox spent 15 years in a variety of in-house roles during two separate stints at JPMorgan Chase & Co. He left the banking giant for the first time in 2005 to join the Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., where he served as senior compliance counsel.

Wilcox then returned to JPMorgan in 2008, spending four years as general counsel in the bank’s chief administrative office and three years as general counsel for Chase Card Services. In 2015, he left JPMorgan once again to join the New York office of Atlanta-based First Data, where Wilcox worked alongside the company’s former general counsel Adam Rosman.

Legal Entanglements

As an associate general counsel at First Data, which was absorbed last year into Fiserv Inc. in a $22 billion mega-merger, Wilcox was part of a team monitoring money transfer regulations that frequently met with lawmakers and government staffers in Washington.

USAA, which provides banking and insurance services to members of the U.S. military and their family members, recently scored a pair of big litigation wins when a federal district court in Marshall, Texas, issued two rulings in its favor in a mobile deposit patent infringement dispute with Wells Fargo & Co.

The San Francisco-based banking giant was ordered to pay $102.8 million in damages in January and $200 million in damages last November as a result of the litigation, in which Irell & Manella is advising USAA and Winston & Strawn is representing Wells Fargo.

Within the last three years, Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, Shutts & Bowen, and Fish & Richardson have handled the bulk of USAA’s litigation caseload, according to Bloomberg Law data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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