Airbnb Is Building Out Its Legal Department

Source: The Recorder

By David Ruiz

In constructing its legal department over the past year, Airbnb Inc. looks to be laying the foundation for a towering future.

The short-term home-rental site added at least 10 attorneys in San Francisco last year, with at least two more in the first months of 2016, according to LinkedIn records. One of those recent hires was Robert Chesnut, the company's new general counsel. On April 25, Chesnut will replace former GC Belinda Johnson, who was promoted to chief business affairs and legal officer last year.

Major, Lindsey & Africa in-house recruiter Judy Allen said that Airbnb's hiring rate is fast, but she's seen a similar strategy from disruptive, Bay Area companies with multiple investors.

"When I say 'strategy,' what I mean is a company that is building out its legal department before profitability," Allen said. "In the early stages, I think investors are reticent to bring an expensive executive on board that may be viewed as a cost center. However, Airbnb has shown itself to be very successful in utilizing legal strategy to manage risk."

"The type of companies that do that are the types of companies that really value a voice at the table from a legal point of view as they build out their strategy," said Major, Lindsey & Africa's Allen. That idea holds weight even for incoming GC Chesnut, who will be a member of the executive leadership team.

Read more of this feature at The Recorder.

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