Wayne Lovett: Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Mercury Air Group, Inc.

<<"It wasn't some long-held ambition to go to law school," said Lovett, who is now Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Mercury Air Group. "One thing that I do better than 99.9% of the country is read," said Lovett, who attributes his extremely high LSAT scores to his passion for reading. Based on his performance on the LSAT, he decided a career in law would be a good fit for him.

Click Here to Read BCG Attorney Search’s Guide to Corporate and Finance Job Search Categories for More Information.

Lovett took night classes at South Texas College of Law in Houston, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree. After graduation, Lovett started his own practice as a trial lawyer. He handled pretty much everything, including family law, juvenile law, and even some civil law.

"Once I got into it, I loved it. I've never looked back," he said, adding, "I've always felt honored to be a member of the bar." Lovett, who has a wide range of experience practicing law, said, "I've done everything I can do with the law without getting arrested."

Aspiring in-house counsel "need to know how to read a balance sheet," Lovett said. "It's important to know the numbers side of the business," he added.

Aspiring in-house lawyers should also learn about the particular business industries they want to break into. Lovett recommends attending trade shows to learn about pertinent business issues. For instance, Lovett frequently visits airports and cargo facilities to stay in touch with what is happening in his industry.

"Read The Wall Street Journal," Lovett added. The Journal, especially the editorial page, is a great source of business news, he said.

Lovett went on to become the presiding judge for the Lakeway Municipal Court in Texas. He decided to transition into an in-house position after the fuel oil bust in Houston. Prior to joining Mercury Air Group, Lovett served as Corporate Counsel and Secretary of Communications Transmission, Inc., which is now called Broadwing.

In 1997, Lovett was appointed General Counsel of Los Angeles-based Mercury Air Group, an aviation services firm. Since 1999, he has also served as Corporate Secretary, and in May 2001, he began serving as Executive Vice President, as well.

Mercury Air Group provides fuel and related services to commercial, business, and government aviation customers, as well as air cargo services for airlines and forwarders.

Air cargo service is one of the fastest growing components of Mercury Air Group because the demand for air cargo increases at an average rate of about 18% annually.

Mercury's government services unit, known as Maytag Aircraft, has also been profitable. Today, Maytag Aircraft is a major service provider for the Defense Energy Support Center and the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command, assisting with aircraft-refueling and air-terminal contracts across the globe.

At Mercury Air Group, Lovett deals with most of the same issues that any business does, including contracts and employment matters.

Even though Mercury Air Group is a large international company with locations on five continents, the legal department is very small. Lovett works with one other lawyer and two paralegals.

However, he manages a large team of outside counsel, and doing so is his primary responsibility. "I direct traffic with those attorneys," he said. There is "very little that I do directly and a whole lot that I've got my hands in."

Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Read, visit battlefields, visit museums.

Q. What CD was most recently in your CD player?
A. Books on CD: The Letter of Marque by Patrick O'Brian.

Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. The January 2007 issue of America's Civil War.

Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. Numbers.

Q. Who is your role model?
A. Jesus Christ, of course, William Tecumseh Sherman, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Carl W. McKinzie of Bingham McCutchen.

"When I wake up in the morning, I don't know what I'm going to do that day," which is one of the most enjoyable parts of the job, Lovett said. Even if he makes a schedule, it remains tentative because what he ends up doing is entirely dependent on what happens throughout the course of the day.

One of the biggest challenges he faces as a general counsel—and he expects most general counsel would agree—is "communicating the legal issues to the business people and vice versa—translating the business issues into legalese."

Another challenge is "not being the person that just says 'no.'" Many business people perceive lawyers as the people who act as dams or barriers to what they want. Lovett has to work to make sure his company understands that it is "a service provider." He said he has to help find ways to get things done and "mitigate the overall legal risk."


In order to be a successful general counsel, flexibility is a must, Lovett said. "You have to be able to move quickly, particularly in a business like ours, which is diversified." As his company's general counsel, Lovett does not follow a set schedule each day. "You really don't know what's going to end up on your plate," he said.

Featured Testimonials

I have used every aspect of LawCrossing and concluded that the website is awesome. Jobs are described in a perfect way.


LawCrossing Fact #17: The “FAQ” section lists a large variety of commonly asked questions that LawCrossing users might have along with helpful answers.

Boston, MA
Commercial Litigation Partner The candidate will demonstrate technical and commercial expertise and the ability to deliver results within required time frames in order to provide the highest service level to external clients whilst demonstrating and communicating a clear understanding of business n...
Minneapolis, MN
Legal Administrative Assistant The candidate should have 3-5 years of experience in civil litigation, corporate work, real estate and estate planning matters. Excellent organizational skills and a familiarity with Microsoft Office programs are a must.
Omaha, NE
Legal Administrative Assistant The candidate must have 3+ years of legal secretarial experience, preferably in both corporate and litigation. Excellent communication and computer skills are a must.
Dallas, TX
Assistant United States Attorney, AD-0905-21/21 The candidate will work primarily on defensive civil matters. Will represent the US in a wide variety of defensive matters brought against the federal government and its agencies, including immigration, employment discrimination, medical malpractice, ...
Chicago, IL

**MEMBERS ONLY**SIGN UP NOW***. is growing and seeking an additional IL licensed attorney experienced in FAMILY LAW for its high volume consumer service based legal practice. The desired candidate should be career driven with evidence of leadership capabilities to be groomed for a l...

Gatesville, TX
Paralegal / Legal Assistant Responsibilities: Conduct research to support legal proceedings. Assist with the drafting and reviewing of legal documents. Investigate facts to help in the negotiation of legal disputes. Monitor and ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. Record and stor...



Testimonial of the Week

LawCrossing has the most listings of any job board I have used. It's actually a great site. The website had a lot of detail. It’s nice that you don't have to go through a recruiter if you don't want to. You can actually contact the law firm directly for the positions listed. LawCrossing had a ton of great features.
  • Brian McMillan San Francisco, CA
Job of the Day

Litigation Attorney in Burlington, NC

Burlington, NC

Data Privacy Attorney Duties: Work in Corporate Compliance Department. Will have primary responsibility for implementin...

Employer: Covance Inc.

Job Search Tip

Review and role-play the most frequently asked questions. Prepare your answers to questions like: Why are you leaving your job? Why are you interested in this position? What do you know about our company?