the contract work with celebrity advertising person-
alities such as T-Mobile’s Catherine Zeta-Jones. He
does not directly interact with the Federal Commu-
nications Commission or other regulators, although
regulatory work is conducted out of his Washing-
ton office with the help of outside counsel, so “I
am aware of what is going on and, as necessary,
become involved.” His mantra is remain sensitive to
contacts.” He also recommends familiarity with
the country’s history, politics and current events,
asserting that, given the political context in which
international business operates, such knowledge
allows him to detect and analyze trends that are of
potential importance to Deutsche Telekom.
There is no substitute in the legal business for personal
relationships and contacts.”
the business objectives and always try to find legally
compliant ways to optimize these objectives.
Being an American general counsel for a foreign
company, said Shingleton, brings with it the need for
cross-cultural sensitivity. Being adaptable, flexible
and attentive to, and mindful of, cultural differences
are crucial traits. His clients, including divisional
corporate counsel and the parent company’s central
legal team, are mostly German-trained attorneys.
Shingleton travels to Germany several times a
year and interfaces regularly with the president of
Deutsche Telekom Inc., along with his counterpart
at the Bonn-based parent company, so fluency in the
native tongue is essential.
He emphasizes that “there is no substitute in
the legal business for personal relationships and
security matters, but admitted that there are legal
constraints, particularly regarding data protection,
that have to be considered.
Shingleton’s next port of call, and there he worked
closely with an intern with connections to Deutsche
Telekom, then part of the German federal post office.
(Prior to 1996, the company was 100% government
owned and, although market conditions have not
favored large dispositions of stock, particularly in the
telecommunications sector, the German government’s
stake has been whittled down to around 40%.)
In 1994, the telecommunications company made
its first major international foray—a joint venture
with Sprint and France Telecom in which Shingleton
was a key player—and it opened a D.C. office for
regulatory and legal affairs. Shingleton, who had got
to know several people involved in the company’s
internationalization and eventual privatization, was
then offered the general counsel position.
ROUTE TO THE TOP
Shingleton, Durham, N.C.-born and a graduate of
Dickinson College and Duke University Law School,
has had a Teutonic-flavored law career.
Following four years specializing in civil litigation
with the Raleigh, N.C., firm of Young, Moore, Henderson & Alvis, he was awarded a 1986 fellowship by
the Robert Bosch Foundation for a year of legal work
in Stuttgart, Germany. He spent the next two years
with a firm, since merged with Atlanta-based Alston
& Bird, that had a German-oriented practice.
McGuireWoods’ Washington location was
Shingleton, “very much a full-time husband and
father,” is married to Sherburne Laughlin. They are
the parents of Bill and Matt. He is an avid hiker and
A BOOK AND MOVIE
This Wheel’s On Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of
the Band, by Stephen Davis, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
An earlier version of this profile appeared in The
National Law Journal on Jan. 26, 2004.