During his first year as general counsel at Sosa Bright Tech, Victor Ruben Rojas worked from the parts polishing company’s industrial plant in Chihuahua, Mexico.
As a result, Rojas said he spent a lot of time educating himself on the company’s methods and procedures for polishing wheels that are later placed on automobiles. This education included Rojas watching the company’s production lines in action.
He also physically inventoried and organized the materials necessary for the plant to operate. Those items included safety equipment, tools, sandpaper and abrasives, among others.
Rojas said he felt it was important for him as the GC to witness firsthand — and, in some cases, participate in — how the core aspects of the business operated on a daily basis.
“I think you have to be willing to get your hands dirty in the sense of showing the company that you want to learn about what they actually do,” Rojas told Legal Dive.
“I don't know that you can be a good GC without actually understanding the core business,” he added.
For example, Rojas said the knowledge he gained from his time in the industrial plant has proved useful in reviewing and negotiating service contracts.
These agreements detail Sosa Bright Tech’s process for polishing wheels and the procedures required by their clients.
“I don't know that I would completely understand the contracts if I didn't completely understand the process,” Rojas said.
Nontraditional career path
Rojas’ approach to his job might strike some as nontraditional, and the 29-year-old acknowledges he had an unorthodox path to becoming a GC.
The Arkansas native, whose parents are from Mexico, graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2018.
After passing the bar exam and securing his license in September 2018, he went to work as a general practitioner for the Law Office of Joseph Paul Smith in Arkansas.
In late 2020, Rojas learned that a friend he met through his work at the firm, Isaac Sosa, planned to move to Mexico to help with his family’s businesses. These businesses included Sosa Bright Tech.
Rojas said he told his friend he was willing to move to Mexico to bring in-house all of Sosa Bright Tech’s legal needs.
Isaac Sosa’s parents hired Rojas in February 2021 to work as the general counsel for Sosa Bright Tech. He was 27 at the time.
“In the span of about a year and a half, I went from practicing in small-town Arkansas to being part of a multimillion-dollar international business,” Rojas said. “None of that would have been possible without the trust and the relationships that were created with the individuals who were willing to take a chance on a young lawyer.”
Rojas said he was also well-served by his openness to taking the risk of moving to a new country to take on a job he had not held before.
This embrace of change included starting his tenure working from the industrial plant rather than a traditional corporate office.
“I think the skill set that helped me the most was the willingness to enter into an environment that would not be wanted or ideal for most lawyers,” Rojas said.
This willingness, he said, has also allowed Rojas to develop competencies “that can be applied to all levels of the company.”
For example, he can use the knowledge he gained about the day-to-day operations of the company when involved in business discussions at the executive level.
Additionally, Rojas said he learned the importance of not sitting at his desk and only taking action when legal tasks were assigned to him.
He said he feels grateful for his experience at Sosa Bright Tech to date and how it has helped him grow as a lawyer early in his professional journey.
“I have developed a number of interchangeable skills that transcend any legal experience I could have acquired in a traditional legal career,” Rojas said.