The Changing Role of the General Counsel, The Legal Profession & the Practice of Law.
The General Counsel of today is more of a Generalist Counsel – a businessperson who happens to be a lawyer, rather than merely a lawyer who understands the business. This is a non-trivial distinction that, when properly internalized by General Counsel, have catapulted them to a seat at the business strategy table.
The rapid ascent of the General Counsel has also been accompanied by a perfect storm of challenges that have created the need for a completely new set of operational and leadership skills for in-house lawyers. These skills stretch not only the paradigm of in-house lawyering, but also have significant implications for the business overall. These challenges fall into three intersecting categories:
• Increasing intensity of regulatory oversight and demands for compliance
• The convergence of risk and the rise of globalization
• The dissipation of corporate profits and the accompanying pressure on operational costs
How have businesses adapted to these challenges? What is an example of a core business process that is being affected (and improved) as a result of a response to these challenges? How can law and business graduates prepare themselves for succeeding in this environment?