Meet Sandra McFarland: The Case of the Canny Counsel

Sandra McFarland finds her energy in uncovering solutions. Which is a very good thing when you’re legal counsel to AssetWorks Risk Management and 15 other Volaris sister companies, as Sandra is; she’ll tell you, whether it’s leases, customer contracts, acquisition integration or any other legal issues that have made their way to her desk, there always seems to be an opportunity to bring greater clarity and specificity to a project. Sandra McFarland

She calls it being “Mother McFarland,” her unhesitating way of guiding coworkers on the business side of things toward the decisions and language that forge better dealings for customers and colleagues alike. But, really, it’s sharp listening, careful reading, 12 years of experience with the organization and 35 years of legal practice. Sandra becomes her companies’ conduit for legally-sound business procedure, whether the advice is contained in her ever-turning mind or available through an expert reference she can share. She transforms general language and quick ideas into distilled meanings and pinpoint precision. Her solutions are perhaps less mothered into being, and more incisively-dissected, assessed and rebuilt stronger.

She indicates most of her work is, at heart, about customer support. “I take the legal terms and make them understandable in business speak, then translate the business to legal. I document it all so customer expectations are set. I like helping all parties understand why we have the rules we have. And if I do my job right on the front-end, there are fewer, if any, issues on the back-end.”

As a result, being responsive to teams’ requests has been key, and the shifting priorities make for an interesting, ever-changing workday. “I wake up and have five or ten things I want to do. And at the end of the day, I’ve done one of them along with a number of ‘urgent’ requests that came in that day.” She jokes that, “It always takes longer than they think it will. You can’t hand me a one-page agreement with hyperlinks and expect me to turn it over in an hour. We actually read every word of it and want to understand the underlying business solution that’s being documented.”

But because she’s been working remotely from her Austin, Texas home for over 12 years now, she enjoys being included with the business team in finding solutions — activity, she indicates, that has increased this past year, when COVID-19 encouraged more of her colleagues to work remotely, as well. “Before the pandemic, people in our offices would confer with each other or have onsite meetings and maybe update me after. But now, when every interaction is a phone call and meetings are online, every stakeholder can be reached, including me. Because of this inclusion, I’ve gotten to know more people personally, via Teams or Zoom meetings, than before the COVID-19 shutdowns.”

The personal touch of the business is one thing she particularly appreciates about working with Volaris companieRuby the dogs like AssetWorks Risk Management. “I love Volaris and the individuality of the 16 companies I work with. It makes for a fun day. The variety… the cultures… Each group is different but with the same ethical, caring, hard-working attitude.” Much like Sandra herself, frankly.

So it may come as no surprise that in her spare time, Sandra reveals a certain consistency with her work passions. She enjoys reading popular mystery fiction and solving the cases along with the lead characters. She challenges herself and online companions in regular games of “Words with Friends.” And she prefers black-and-white television programs like The Untouchables and Perry Mason, where procedure and puzzles take center stage. If issues need solving, Sandra McFarland is there.

Sandra also enjoys spending time with her “Christmas COVID dog” Ruby, an Australian Shepherd named for the red merle pattern of her fur. Ruby’s regular walks make sure Sandra keeps moving and help offer a fresh perspective beyond “the AssetWorks in my living room” and the litigation of Mr. Mason. It’s unclear whether Ruby has picked up any of Sandra’s talents for problem-solving — she has yet to be able to reach the birds on the birdfeeder. But, as in many such tales, there really is only room for one keen legal mind, one unraveller of mysterious challenges. And Sandra’s won that role, hands-down.