Jeff Apfel, general counsel at Albert
Current position: General counsel at personal finance app Albert
How he landed at Albert: Apfel was originally a software engineer before pivoting toward law, working in software development at ABN AMRO Bank and Accenture. After several years, though, he found himself wanting to work on “the bigger picture,” which contrasted with the individual projects he worked on as a software engineer, and pivoted toward law.
After graduating from the Loyola Law School in 2003, Apfel went straight in-house, landing an associate counsel position at IAC, a media and Internet company. After stints at car sales platform, TrueCar.com, and Groupon, Apfel returned to Accenture — this time as their software product attorney — in 2013.
One day, over lunch with a friend, Apfel talked about how he wanted to transition from a large company like Accenture to an in-house position, which he felt would allow him to work on a variety of matters. Shortly after, the friend happened to bump into the CMO of Albert at the time, and discovered the startup was looking to hire a GC.
What is an important skill as GC at a startup?
Lawyers are notorious for speaking in legalese, and Apfel said that communication skills are extremely important as GC.
“You have to essentially distill for the business folks complex legal arguments and regulations from all over the place”, he said, specifically from industry watchdogs like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. “It’s the alphabet soup of agencies in the financial services space. You need to be able to distill those complex regulatory structures and communicate, in plain English, to the business leadership what the risk is in doing X, Y, or Z.”