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
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

ADVERTISEMENT