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Philip J. Ragona, Senior Vice President and General Counsel iPayment Inc

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On 29th March, 2010, iPayment Inc announced that Philip Joseph Ragona would be joining iPayment from April 16, 2012. Philip is joining at the same post and position that he enjoyed in his last job at Atrium Inc, namely, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the company. In his last job Phil was very successful in the Chapter 11 filing of Atrium Companies Inc which is the largest manufacturer and supplier of residential vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors in North America and had about 4100 employees.
 
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Phil Ragona, who has been in professional practice since 1993, was a finalist of the Best Corporate Counsel, 2010, award by the Dallas Business Journal. In an interview with DBJ when asked to share a truth to someone considering a career as a corporate attorney, Phil said:
“The biggest single difference between private firm practice and being an in-house corporate counsel is that, in the latter role, you are not just a lawyer. You may be a corporate officer, and will most definitely be a business manager. To everyone but you, your company doesn't have legal problems — it has business problems that may or may not be legal in nature. Your job, first and foremost, is to find solutions to those business problems. As many times as not, the skills you will be required to call on to solve those problems will have little to do with law or your legal training. Instead, you will be required to use your management skills and business knowledge, innovative thinking, and most of all, your common sense.”
And when asked about the worst advice he had ever received in a company, he quoted a former board member who had said “We hired you to give us legal advice. Leave the financial matters to the accountants.” This, Ragona held, was very bad advice which he immediately rejected.



The best advice, admittedly, he had ever received, according to Phil Ragona was from his alma mater's greatest legend John Wooden, who said “Never mistake activity for achievement.” An advice which Phil followed to good effect and found that his success in law firms did not depend upon how many hours he spent at work, but how much work he got done.

Phil Ragona recalls Floyd Abrams, a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel as his greatest mentor. He holds with Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who commented that “Floyd Abrams is the most significant First Amendment lawyer of our age,” and thinks that Abrams is the kind of lawyer who makes you proud of your profession.

Phil also holds that “the biggest misconception about corporate lawyers is that they don't “get” the business needs of the company and are seen as so risk-averse that they are an impediment to the company meeting its business objectives.” According to Phil, it is extremely important for a corporate lawyer to understand the strategic coals of the company so that legal skills are not only used to protect the company, but also to contribute in meeting business and strategic objectives.

Phil Ragona brings to iPayment a distinguished 20-year legal career stretching from 1992. Mr. Ragona received his JD from Columbia University School of Law and his BA degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He began his career in at Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP, New York, in securities and commercial litigation. In 1995, he moved to Paul Hastings continuing in securities, mergers and acquisitions up to 2002. Since 2002, he has been the Senior Vice President and General Counsel and Secretary of Atrium Corporation.
 
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