The general counsel role continues to expand, and in-house lawyers are integral players in business development activity. But the most important piece of any GC’s job description remains as simple as this: Protect the Company.
Accordingly, I often ask our clients: “What keeps you up at night?” After the hack into Sony’s internal computer network, the eye-opening “60 Minutes” piece that followed, and a general recognition that all companies are vulnerable to cyberattack, the answer is fairly unanimous.
No wonder the word “cybersecurity” was used in 20 percent of the agenda items at last week’s InsideCounsel SuperConference, and cybersecurity was the keynote topic. I looked through my old conference programs from previous years, and I couldn’t find the word cybersecurity anywhere. So, is the concern overblown, reminiscent of “Y2K” fears back in 1999? More
If survey summary info and pie charts are to be believed… according to Corporate Counsel’s 2014 law department benchmarking survey, 55% of law departments increased headcount last year. That looks and feels about right to us, and it’s an extraordinarily high percentage compared with previous years. Static headcount is the norm; increases and decreases are usually the outliers. See: http://www.corpcounsel.com/home/id=1202676090048/2014-Law-Department-Metrics-Benchmarking-Survey?mcode=1202615405140&curindex=0
Whenever you read about hiring trends in the trade press, the article usually focuses on growth industries and so called “hot” practice areas (i.e. compliance, intellectual property, data privacy, etc). But I am seeing a more interesting hiring trend that is not practice- or industry-specific.
In a nutshell, companies appear more focused than ever on building “best in class” law departments. Many departments are there already and it’s a matter of maintaining quality standards. I use Baxter Healthcare as an example here. Baxter has kindly partnered with us to make a couple of key hires related to the pending spinout of its BioSciences division into a new public company. If you are interested in one of these positions—VP, Information Policy and Management and Securities Counsel—or have a candidate referral to recommend, please contact me. You would be joining a team that is already A-tier in terms of pedigree, work ethic, mission orientation and community service. More
A well done basic primer piece from Law360:
Thank you for including us, Melissa.
The conditions for law department growth have never been better. So, if you are going to lobby your CEO for additional headcount, this is the year to do it.
Companies are always cautious about expanding law department headcount. But the three drivers required for hiring are all in place:
- Revenue growth.
- Employee growth generally.
- A continuing desire to reduce outside legal spend and bill analysis, supporting greater use of in-house counsel. More
I am humbled and grateful to receive this recognition during Mentoring Month from United Latinos for Education Empowerment and Development (ULEED). Mike
Ho ho ho. We used to come bearing holiday gifts at this time of year. But Sarbanes-Oxley pretty much squashed corporate gift giving. In 2012, a client even resisted the delivery of customized M&Ms onto which we put the client’s logo, worried it might violate the company’s gift policy. Accordingly, Evers Legal abandoned holiday gift giving all together.
But this is not a “bah humbug” column, and I assure you that I’m not Scrooge. So, instead of candy, I will now spread good cheer in the form of high quality recommendations you can use in 2015. You are all excellent at selecting outside counsel and don’t need me to make additional suggestions on that front. But there are other services that you use, or from which your company can truly benefit, with less frequency. And when you use these kinds of very specialized services, you really want to get it right. More
Hmm… I think I come across a bit grouchy. We do, after all, work with a lot of in-house counsel who are displaced post-merger and I do feel the pain from folks who do not land softly and quickly. But there really is a huge glass half full element here: Companies truly like candidates in this situation, because the reason for seeking new employment is very “clean” and completely unrelated to performance or perceived dissatisfaction.
Anyway, it’s always fun to be quoted in Crain’s and, most importantly, I do think this is an important topic worthy of discussion.
“I would like to use you, but our HR team is in charge of the opening,” a general counsel we respect and have known for years said to me during a recent phone call. This is not a new development, of course. Many organizations fill law department positions without using any outside search firm. But not too long ago, the law department always took charge of selecting the search firm when, indeed, the company decided to use one. Accordingly, we have focused for 20 years on building relationships with you—lawyers and law department leaders.
However, our firm is not well known within HR circles. I intend to change that. By building relationships with HR leaders, I hope we will earn the right to serve more of your law department’s needs. The challenge is getting in front of the right people for introductory meetings in advance of needs arising. Like all executives, HR leaders resist unsolicited inquiries. More
Should a general counsel also hold the chief compliance officer (CCO) title? Associations that have sprung up in support of the CCO function say definitely no and advocate for a direct reporting relationship between a CCO and CEO, while other experts believe there are strong benefits to combining these roles.
Objective research offers insight into how companies are actually approaching the topic.
And that is: There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A Deloitte survey—released earlier this year, and the best stats I could find on the topic—states that only 17 percent of CCOs also hold the GC title. More