ILNews

IMS attorney excels in fast-paced work environment

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Susan Rivas enjoys the sound of cars zipping around the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Her office window overlooks the back of the grandstand, about 100 feet away, where workers are busy readying the stands for thousands of visitors.

This is an exciting and busy time of year for Rivas, who joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. as corporate counsel and senior director of legal affairs last September. In her role, she provides legal services for IMSC and all of Hulman & Co., including INDYCAR, Clabber Girl, IMS Productions and INDYCAR Entertainment.
 

il-ims-counsel01-15col.jpg Susan Rivas (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

“I was a partner for 13 years at Ice Miller, and I did work from time to time for the Speedway and also for the Clabber Girl Corp. and worked closely with Gretchen (Snelling), the general counsel, when she was at Ice

Miller. So I would say it was a little bit of a dream job, based upon a longtime association,” Rivas said.

“The days go really fast. The people I work with are tremendous – we laugh a lot, and we work cooperatively; it’s really a lot of fun,” she said.

Small staff, big job

IMSC’s legal department is comprised of one paralegal, one administrative assistant and two lawyers – Rivas and Snelling, IMS vice president and chief legal counsel. Ice Miller handles litigation for the corporation.

Rivas said that having such a small staff means everyone must share responsibilities to get the work done. And Rivas is typically the last set of eyes on a contract.

“My specific job involves review of a lot of contracts because – especially at this time of year – we just do a tremendous amount of contracts, and I’m the last person that has to sign off, unless it’s something that the general counsel gets involved in,” Rivas said. “So I consider my job to be making sure that contracts are right, and also that they’re done quickly.”

The staff is always looking for ways to streamline processes and boost efficiency.

“The legal profession is lagging behind the world in efficiency. When you have to sit down and draft an agreement, it’s a consumer of time, and the business is moving on very quickly. So we’re struggling always to be more efficient and give better service to our clients,” Rivas said.

Variety and challenge

Rivas has been a business lawyer her entire career. She developed Ice Miller’s antitrust investigation, regulatory and counseling practice and advised DowElanco (now Dow AgroSciences) on joint ventures, acquisitions and other corporate issues. This broad experience serves her well in her job at IMSC.

“I think most people view us as a place where you hold races, but there’s a huge entertainment side to it that’s just like any other entertainment business, in that we have suites, we have concerts here, we sell alcohol, we sell food … so there’s just a tremendous variety of legal work to be done.”

Rivas said she’s still learning about some specific racing law issues, and she enjoys the challenge of learning something new and different. She’s also keenly aware of the potential for liability.

“It’s very specialized in racing – the risks are severe – and you have to be completely on top of it with insurance and releases. Really, letting people come on the property is a big deal,” she said.

When Rivas isn’t working, the former English major tries to find time for reading, exercising and riding her bike. She also enjoys traveling with her daughter, who attends college out-of-state, and son, who is a senior in high school. The family recently took a trip to France.

Snelling is glad to have Rivas on staff.

“I am so pleased that Susan joined us,” Snelling said. “Her skill and expertise have had an immediate and positive impact on our business. She has deep knowledge of many areas of law and provides very practical advice and innovative solutions to our family of companies.”•
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

ADVERTISEMENT