The legal issues around any business startup can be intimidating. But for firms operating in the digital space, the complexity and gravity of protecting products and people can be downright terrifying.
Privacy and data security issues are particularly fraught. Numerous high-profile breaches related to consumer privacy in the digital space have occurred over the past decade, adversely affecting the reputations and finances of companies both large and small and prompting improvements in cybersecurity tools and practices. Along the way, David Hale has witnessed it all and shaped its responses.
Some companies rely on outside legal counsel to handle these tasks. Others — like AddShoppers — invest in in-house attorneys and compliance professionals, a sign of their commitment to proactively building a steadfast culture of protecting their customers and businesses.
AddShoppers is an eCommerce firm that helps shoppers save time and money while recovering lost revenue for brands. In 2023, it welcomed David Hale, the company’s first in-house counsel, who came with an enterprise background and an interest in building a solid legal structure. Prior to joining the AddShoppers team, he was the Deputy General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at TD Ameritrade.
"I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the company already had a strong culture of privacy and information security awareness."
“There were several quick solutions with immediate impact where I was able to add value,” Hale said. “I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the company already had a strong culture of privacy and information security awareness — and most of my work in that area has been able to focus on improving processes instead of creating them.”
Working in a fully remote company was another adjustment for Hale, but AddShoppers made it easy. The onboarding process and supportive culture helped him quickly integrate into the company and provide the kind of up-front guidance the company needs. He likes the setup and finds the company’s use of Slack, 15Five and Bonusly are effective in building well-connected teams.
“I’ve previously worked at large enterprises, so I’m also excited to work on projects at start-up speed,” he told Built In.
Here’s how his journey has unfolded.
What was the onboarding process like for you? What was your favorite part?
Even though AddShoppers is fully remote, all the necessary technology was delivered and ready to go on the first day. It was quick and efficient. While the start of every job entails certain administrative processes, we got through them quickly, and I was ready to jump in on meeting the team by the afternoon.
My favorite part was being made to feel welcome from the very beginning. Everyone was friendly and made a serious effort to show how the company uses technology to build a healthy, engaged culture as a remote-only workplace.
What pleasantly surprised you after you joined?
One of the main areas of experience in my background is data privacy, and one of the primary reasons I was hired was to help the company mature with regard to its handling of information.
More broadly, I’ve also been impressed with the way the company handles remote work, integrating and really using tools like Slack, 15Five and Bonusly to increase communication and a sense of belonging to a team across the organization.
When did you know you made the right choice in joining your company?
Honestly, even before my first day of work at AddShoppers. Due to schedules not aligning, my manager was going to be out of the office on my first day of work. Because he really wanted to be there to welcome me, he postponed my start day a few days but started me on the payroll as planned. That kind of concern for bringing people in the right way struck me deeply.
How have you hit the ground running since you joined and what are you most excited to accomplish over the next quarter or year?
I’m the first legal professional in the company and there were several quick and impactful solutions where I was able to add value. I moved through a backlog of tasks immediately. Between that and getting my arms around the inner workings of the company and its products, there’s been a lot to do right off the bat. I’m excited to kick into the next gear as we accelerate building out new products and services and being able to guide the team around legal issues from the beginning of those projects.
What aspect of your professional growth are you most excited to evolve?
I’ve moved into a role that has a broader subject matter and I’m looking forward to learning more about areas of law I’ve only encountered rarely in the past. I’ve previously worked at large enterprises, so I’m also excited to work on projects at start-up speed. Finally, I’m looking forward to helping build the business in other ways, contributing not just legal input, but other ideas to help AddShoppers scale our culture and platform.