THE FIRST TIME A JOB OPPORTUNITY AT ATLANTA-BASED KABBAGE
Inc. presented itself for Scott Askins, the timing wasn’t right. But then
the CEO came knocking a second time. Now, two years into her tenure
at the fintech company, which provides small business loans, Askins
leads a team of six in-house attorneys and a compliance specialist.
Askins has held legal leadership roles at Premiere Global Services
Inc., a collaboration software and services company, and at WebMD.
She helped to take the online health information provider public in
2005. She spoke with reporter Stephanie Forshee about what it’s
like to work at a startup like Kabbage and what advice she’d pass
on to other in-house attorneys.
CORPORATE COUNSEL: How did you land at Kabbage?
SCOTT ASKINS: I knew Rob [Frohwein], the CEO. He used to
be my outside patent counsel. I had been following the success of Kabbage. One day he called me up and offered the
opportunity. At the time I was at PGI, and we were a public
company about to [go] private. I was in the middle of that
deal, and I couldn’t tell him that. The timing wasn’t right.
Then he called me again later. At that point, I thought, “When
somebody calls you two times, you take them up on it.”
CC: What’s it been like at Kabbage?
SA: It’s been exciting to stay on top of the innovations that are happening.
As the business grows, you have to keep pace with it.
CC: Speaking of innovation, what is it like working in fintech right now?
SA: It’s not the Wild Wild West everyone seems to think it is. There’s this
misunderstanding there’s no regulation involved. We aren’t the lender on
our loans. We partner with an FDIC-insured bank, Celtic Bank, and they
do frequent audits. But still, we believe in being very proactive. Most of
the regulators are really open to a dialogue with us.
CC: When you left PGI, one of the other in-house lawyers stepped up
as GC. Was that planned?
SA: I am glad I succession-planned my assistant GC, who was
selected for the job. I think succession planning happens weekly,
daily. You can’t look at it as a “check the box.” If you don’t view it
as a continuous thing, you won’t be able to retain good people and
promote good people from within.
CC: What advice would you give to an aspiring GC?
SA: One thing I’d say is it can be really helpful to understand
financial statements. I think that’s across the board. If a company is public or audited, there is so much information you’ll
find in reading them.
SECOND TIME’S A CHARM
INTERVIEW ❘ L. SCOTT ASKINS, GENERAL COUNSEL, KABBAGE