In 2009, Crowell & Moring counsel Christoph De Preter sat in a glass-walled office on the top story of a building overlooking the Arenberg IT Science Park, 15 minutes outside of Brussels. More than 20 tech companies have their offices there, ranging from startups to multinationals. He was at the offices of Luciad’s global headquarters, interviewing with the CEO for a new job. This is just a few blocks from De Preter’s alma mater at the Catholic University of Leuven, where the software company got its start.
Although he had applied for a senior in-house legal position, the role wasn’t his first choice. De Preter was a counsel in Crowell & Moring’s Intellectual Property and Technology, Media & Telecommunications groups, where he built a thriving European practice in online gaming—a first for the firm. He had been considering a career change from law to business management for some time but worried that making such a move would require him to return to school to earn a MBA. It was an unappealing prospect for De Preter who had already earned his J.D. and L.L.M.
De Preter was 20 minutes into the interview when the Luciad CEO asked, “Do you think you can sell?”
De Preter recounted his experiences developing business at the firm and the importance of listening to the customer in the process. He told the CEO, “I am a lawyer at a U.S. law firm that is growing rapidly, and I built up business at the firm. In other words, I sold myself. I sold my legal services to clients. So yes, I guess I can sell.”
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