Information Governance Committee Spotlight

Shawn Cheadle

Shawn Cheadle




I am the general counsel to the military space line of business at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. I support government and international contracts negotiations, drafting and dispute resolution. I also support information governance, e-discovery, records management, counterfeit parts investigations, and other functional organizations at Lockheed Martin. Serving ACC, I am an ACC global board member, former law department management chair, and former board member and president of ACC Colorado. My wife Lora, two boys and I reside in Littleton, Colorado. I love fly fishing in the Rocky Mountains and in other parts of the world.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and had net sales of $45.6 billion in 2014.

What interested you in the in-house practice of law and how did you come to be general counsel of a major line of business at Lockheed Martin Space Systems?

I went to law school to become a player agent, representing athletes. To do so, I studied substantial contracts, corporate and agency law at the University of Denver, and found that practicing law and serving as an agent had ethical conflicts, and then student loans were calling. So I turned to private practice, and after a few years I was hired by an aerospace and defense (A&D) supplier to help with contracts and export. I was able to rise to VP, GC and secretary, and a few years later we sold our company to a “mid-major” A&D company, and from there I was recruited to join Lockheed Martin.

What is the single greatest challenge that your law department is facing today, and how are you dealing with it?

In our industry we have many top challenges, from complex space vehicle programs, to business growth to volume of work. One of our greatest challenges, among these, is the drive to increase diversity and inclusiveness in the aerospace and defense industry, and especially in the practice of law. We are addressing this need by supporting the Center for Legal Inclusiveness and ACC’s Fellowship Program through the ACC Colorado Chapter. We are also working to bring the Street Law Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program to Colorado in the fall of 2015, through partnership with two of our major law firms in Denver. This program partners corporate legal departments with nearby high school law classes to increase students’ knowledge and interest in the law and legal careers.

In July 2015, you were appointed chair of the new Information Governance Committee. Tell me about the purpose of this new committee.

I believe that to lead the legal industry in all areas of practice, ACC should bring its leadership to information governance (IG). This effort is not in response to a new body of law, like Dodd-Frank or Sarbanes-Oxley, or even the revised rules on e-discovery. Rather, information governance is an emerging area of practice that impacts every in-house counsel in some way. The Information Governance Committee’s charter, therefore, is at first to educate counsel on what it is and why it is important to them and their corporate clients.

What are some of the ways that the IG Committee will provide value to its members?

The true value of understanding IG comes through the formation of an IG council or forum within our companies. The IG Committee will demonstrate the value of bringing together several stakeholders in one forum, each of whom is charged with the developing, protecting, and managing data and information. IG forums offer an extraordinary opportunity to discuss issues that one department alone may not fully comprehend. For instance, cyber threats to information stored in the Cloud, retention and collection of electronic stored information (ESI), Bring Your Own Device programs, ESI security and retention management, device and data encryption, among other facets of data and information management — all of these require a team effort — legal, IT, RIM, engineering, finance, human resources and others.

What substantive practice issues does your committee address?

The IG Committee will offer guidance on how to form an IG council within a company, it will provide best practices, and it will offer information governance guidance spanning a host of complex topics, including cyber security, records management, e-discovery, privacy, information security and more.

How has committee participation helped you in your career?

Since May 2014, I have led an effort to work with ACC to develop the IG Committee from formation to ACC board approval in June 2015. In that time, the IG Interest Group supported e-group member-to-member activity and we hosted outstanding Legal Quick Hits and the ACES conference in New Orleans. I spoke on four panels during that span on IG. Through this fire hose of information, I pinch myself at how much I have learned in a year’s time. I’ve learned more about structured vs. unstructured data, how CIOs differ from CISOs, that law firms are beginning to hire IG partners or directors, and how so many firms and vendors have quickly grasped the need to counsel clients in the complex area. I am working with Lockheed Martin to create awareness of IG, recruiting the various stakeholders, and forming our own version of an IG Council in response to several lessons learned.