January 25, 2023
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Associate General Counsel, Business & Legal Affairs (EMEA)
Tarik Gause ‘13 (Capital Markets, 2013-2016, São Paulo) joined Shearman & Sterling’s Capital Markets group in São Paulo as a lateral associate in 2013. Prior to this, he held positions at the White House, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and K&L Gates. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Howard University, a Master of Arts from The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and a Doctor of Law from Georgetown University Law Center. Tarik is the Associate General Counsel, Business & Legal Affairs (EMEA), at Roku in the Netherlands and has been with the company since 2021.
I worked in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance while pursuing my JD at Georgetown and began my practice there after graduating. I left the SEC a year later and went to K&L Gates. I was there for about two years working in securities but my goal was to move on to international business and transactional law, particularly in the Brazilian market. During my second year at K&L Gates, I received a call from a recruiter saying, “Shearman & Sterling is looking for a Portuguese speaker to work in their São Paulo office.” It was my dream call. Shortly after, my family packed up and we moved from D.C. to São Paulo.
One of the most memorable experiences was completing my first bond offering. Up until that point, I had primarily been a securities attorney—I knew deal structures but hadn’t ever brought together issuers, bankers, lawyers and accountants to make a large deal happen. The São Paulo office was small at the time so there wasn’t much room for hierarchy. If you had a deal, it was all yours to manage. At that moment in time, it felt a little overwhelming. I remember working long hours and when the deal successfully launched, how all the hard work felt worth it. Soon after, I received a phone call from the U.K.-based partner overseeing the deal to congratulate me. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment and validation of my ability to lead a transaction.
I also found a friendly culture among the attorneys working with the other large international law firms in São Paulo, even when we often represented opposite sides of a deal. Within Shearman & Sterling, there was an even tighter comradery between attorneys and staff. We supported each other, engaged in gatherings outside of the office and in many ways were a family.
Being proactive, entrepreneurial and efficient. Learning how to successfully lead high-value transactions and projects (often in Portuguese). Being results-oriented and comfortable nudging stakeholders along to get things done while also being collegial. These are some of the skills I have taken with me to every job I’ve had since. These are also the skills I now look for when hiring outside counsel for matters I manage as an in-house attorney.
I left Shearman & Sterling for an in-house role at Bank of America in their primary headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was there for about two years before I got the itch to work abroad again. In 2018, my family moved to the Netherlands and I joined VEON Ltd., a global telecom company, as Associate General Counsel. In 2021, I accepted an offer to join Roku to help set up their international headquarters in Amsterdam.
Roku, headquartered in San Jose, CA, is in the early in the stages of international expansion, so a lot of the work I’m involved in hasn’t been done before. This allows me to be a strategic partner to the business as we enter new markets, and build internal processes and procedures from scratch. I was one of the first people hired at Roku in the Netherlands and the team here has since expanded to nearly 50 people.
I also enjoy the wide variety of work I do. No day is the same. We are responsible for matters ranging from public company disclosure, corporate governance, and financial and commercial transactions, to employment management, regulatory, compliance and some international policy issues. Whatever comes through the door, we just get it done. It’s exciting and it reminds me of the energy we had at Shearman in São Paulo.
Take time to discover what genuinely interests you and pursue it relentlessly. For example, it was 15 years between the time I decided that I wanted to work in Brazil and when I got an opportunity to do so. That's a long stretch of time, but I held fast to that dream. I maintained my language abilities and made sure that when the opportunity came, if it ever did, I would be ready. Fortunately, it happened for me. I would also advise others to be open to unsought opportunities, especially when you're given the chance to pursue work that aligns with your interests—go for it and try to have fun. For instance, I hadn’t thought of working in Europe until an opportunity presented itself, and here I am after 5 years in Amsterdam doing impactful work at an amazing company while continuing to grow as a legal executive, all while having an extraordinary international experience.