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Drinks With The Deal: Databricks' Phi on MosaicML Deal, Hypergrowth Challenges

Published: October 19th, 2023
On the latest Drinks With The Deal, Databricks general counsel Trâm Phi discusses the company’s $1.3 billion purchase of MosaicML, the legal uncertainty around AI and the challenges of managing a growing legal department.

As the general counsel at artificial intelligence company Databricks Inc., Trâm Phi has to manage the legal uncertainties surrounding AI and the needs of a company with more than $1 billion in annual revenue that’s still growing at 50% per year, challenges that she discussed in this week’s Drinks With The Deal podcast, which was recorded at the Berkeley Fall Forum on Corporate Governance on Oct. 11.

Privacy issues are a high priority for the company’s customers, Phi said, and so Databricks has had to develop a robust, mature privacy framework, while it’s been able to take a more deliberate approach on other issues, such as trade control. Phi is also still building the legal department, which includes about 65 lawyers, and she meets every candidate who interviews for an in-house legal position.

Phi said she relies heavily on in-house experts in employment litigation, privacy and public affairs, and she also relies on David A. Bell, her outside corporate counsel at Fenwick & West LLP. “Every quarter, we spend an hour or two together on what’s happening from a legal and corporate governance perspective across different industries,” Phi said. “That helps me understand what other companies are doing and how that might apply to my company.”

Phi tapped Bell for legal advice on Databricks’ $1.3 billion purchase of MosaicML earlier this year, a deal that came together quickly and closed about 45 days after the companies signed a letter of intent.

Listen to the full episode with Trâm Phi below:

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