My Name Is Angelo Spenillo — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Angelo Spenillo

Not many lawyers headbang. For me, music came first. I learned to play guitar in my early teens and honed my performance skills as a member of several heavy metal bands. As I evolved and grew as a person, I came to enjoy an eclectic mix of genres — everything from Killswitch Engage to Bon Jovi. My later journey through the legal profession was similarly diverse.

I found personal and professional fulfillment by forging my own path and embracing the nontraditional.

After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, I worked as an appellate attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. After taking a break to record an album with my band, I joined a law firm in the Washington, D.C. area, doing trial work in employment discrimination and family law. I appreciated the importance of what I was doing. But I absolutely hated billable hours. Even worse than tracking everything in six-minute increments was the adversarial relationships with opposing counsel — everything was a fight.

So I decided to get out of trial work and went to Thomson Reuters. As an account manager, I trained lawyers how to use the company’s online legal research service. I then shifted to product development and marketing, where I worked on an agile team to develop one of Thomson Reuters’ first mobile applications — a product merging legal and news content. I had fun defining requirements and figuring out the best way to deliver what our customers needed.

I fell in love with the business of software — it was amazing to collaborate with others to create a cutting-edge product that helped people.

I felt ready to leave law for good. Next, I dove fully into tech as a solutions engineer for a fast-growing software development company. But in a meeting with the company’s CFO during my first few weeks, I could not stop myself from suggesting how the terms and conditions could be improved. The lawyer in me was still there. Soon I moved into a role as in-house counsel, negotiating with potential clients and working on licensing agreements. I also advised on employment law, intellectual property, and privacy.

In all my prior legal work, there was always a winner and a loser. Someone would be miserable at the end of the day. But as in-house counsel, I could collaborate with lawyers at other companies to reach a solution that worked for all sides. It was energizing to focus on consensus rather than conflict.

Practicing law did not have to be an antagonistic experience. Instead, I could use my legal knowledge to grow businesses.

My next general counsel position was at a web governance SaaS company. I led a multi-disciplinary team through a three-year process to bring the company into compliance with GDPR. I enjoyed learning everything I could about data privacy. But I wanted to keep pushing my understanding of business. So when I saw an ad on LinkedIn for an opening at Aha! I was intrigued. I read Lovability and connected strongly with The Responsive Method. In my prior experiences, my client companies were successful but the level of profitability was nowhere near Aha!

Since joining, I have worked closely with our Customer Success team to answer customers’ questions about everything from our terms of service to ISO 27001 certification. I also deal with export compliance, anti-bribery and anti-corruption, and local regulations in the many jurisdictions in which our entirely distributed team resides.

It is refreshing to work alongside a team that is committed to getting things done quickly and correctly — no drama and no excuses.

As senior corporate counsel, I have found a role that combines what I like about being a lawyer with what I love about business and technology. And although I recently retired from playing in a cover band, music continues to be an important creative and collaborative outlet in my life. My path has definitely not been traditional, but I would not have it any other way.

That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.

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