David Jaffe is the principal of Jaffe Counsel. He provides strategic counsel to businesses and business owners facing significant opportunities, challenges, and transformations.
David focuses on international expansion, joint ventures, and governance that supports the business and its owners. He also builds legal functions that meet business needs and compliance programs that build a profitable culture of doing the right thing.
Since founding Jaffe Counsel in 2014, David has played key strategic roles for his clients. He built a legal function, and a compliance and ethics program for an $800 million NYSE-listed multinational. He is guiding a family-owned business toward ownership and governance transition when the CEO retires, serving on the company’s Advisory Board and as a lawyer. He advised an S&P 500 company that was beginning its international expansion. He has provided insight and recommendations to general counsel on strategy, developing their legal function, and selecting and managing outside lawyers.
Before starting Jaffe Counsel, David was Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Guardian Industries Corp., a $5 billion multinational manufacturing company. He joined Guardian in 1990 and served as General Counsel from 2007 to 2014. David led Guardian’s worldwide legal function as the company grew. He built and implemented its first compliance function. He was responsible for corporate governance, shareholder relations, the worldwide environmental function, and crisis communications.
David played leading legal and business roles in Guardian’s expansion from five countries to 27. He guided the company through governance and other challenges.
Before joining Guardian, he was a partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn in Detroit. David served as a law clerk to Justice William Rehnquist at the Supreme Court of the United States and to Chief Judge James Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He attended the University of Chicago, where he received a J.D. with honors in 1981 and a B.A. in Economics with honors in 1978. In law school, he was a research assistant to Edward H. Levi.
In 24 years as a business and legal leader at Guardian, David gained insight into the real world consequences of business and legal decisions. David was known for his integrity, business acumen and ability to work collaboratively across the business at all levels. He is effective across borders, cultures and legal systems.
Beyond ability, integrity and people skills, business leadership requires judgment. In many challenging business situations, David has demonstrated sound judgment, the courage to act on that judgment, and the discipline not to rush to judgment.
David’s civic involvement has included serving as a board and executive committee member at the Jewish Family Service, Music Hall Center for Performing Arts, JVS, The Roeper School, the International School of Luxembourg and the Detroit Urban League, as well as serving as Chair of the Jesuit Program for Living and Learning of Michigan and President of the Detroit Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. David has also served as a director at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.