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James L. Chosy
James L. Chosy

In-House Counsel 2020: James L. Chosy

Not every in-house counsel wants to serve both their organization and the larger legal profession. Jim Chosy insists on it.

As executive vice president and general counsel for U.S. Bank, Chosy runs the company’s Law Division. For the division’s 250 professionals, Chosy labors to support their legal work and the profession as a whole.

Prior to U.S. Bank, Chosy was general counsel at Piper Jaffray Cos. The work was similar to his current role, but the scale is larger at U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the U.S.

One of Chosy’s priorities is diversity, equity, and inclusion. He champions numerous related initiatives, including a 2019 initiative that set diversity expectations for outside counsel firms. “As long as I have this position of influence, I intend to do what I can to increase diversity,” he said.

Chosy has also strengthened the bank’s pro bono efforts. “I can’t take credit for it, because it was built by people who came before me,” he said. “It’s my good fortune to be able to nurture a great pro bono program.”

Law Division lawyers donated 1,900 hours to pro bono work in 2019, which translates to more than $700,000 in legal work for 45 organizations.

Chosy has also supported programs promoting lawyer well-being and mental health, and ethics, including a standalone ethics office with a chief ethics officer and dedicated ethics ambassadors for each U.S. Bank business line.

Chosy is particularly proud of Innovation Academy. The program helps employees stay up on new technologies — blockchain, AI, biometrics, virtual reality — that affect the industry. “It’s been terrific,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be a bank lawyer.”

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