REIT General Counsels Saw Roles Broaden During Pandemic
03/25/2021 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto

Taryn Fielder, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at WashREIT (NYSE: WRE), participated in a video interview in conjunction with REITwise 2021: Nareit’s Law, Accounting & Finance Conference.

Fielder discussed the changing role of REIT general counsels as a result of the pandemic. She noted that working with front line workers was a primary challenge and “focused the role of general counsel more as a human resources advisor and partner in a way that may not have been previously.”

Once out of crisis mode, Fielder said, it was one issue after another. “I don’t think anyone takes on the job of general counsel without being prepared to dive into the deep end and realize there’s a lot you don’t know, that you’ll still be asked to opine upon. The events of 2020 just broadened that even more so,” she said.

Fielder also commented on the involvement of general counsels in ESG matters. “If general counsels aren’t involved in ESG then that’s probably a mistake,” she said.

Turning to matters of cybersecurity, Fielder commented that “the best path forward is to be as proactive as possible…it’s something we think about every single day. There’s no opportunity to turn away from it because the bad actors just have so many opportunities.”

Watch video interviews from REITwise 2021: Nareit’s Law, Accounting & Finance Conference: