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In my monthly career advice column for Corporate Counsel, I like to put together an occasional Top 5 list. Top 5 interview do’s and don’ts, Top 5 best practices for using LinkedIn — that sort of thing.

Last month, I apparently touched on what in-house counsel really want to talk about because the views and responses blew away anything I have written in the past 10 years for American Lawyer’s in-house trade publication. I decided to opine on what it takes to be a great general counsel.

In short, my list includes:

  1. Calm confidence
  2. Service orientation
  3. Intelligence
  4. Corporate instincts
  5. Vision

I go into greater detail in the column about why these specific traits make great GCs.

The comments I received from actual general counsel about the column were very interesting. They ranged from “spot on” to suggestions for a more comprehensive list. You can read them at the LinkedIn newsfeed post of the column.

I also heard from a few LinkedIn contacts asking me to send the column, as not everyone chooses the opt-in for a subscription to Corporate Counsel.  And so, I secured a pdf version that you can now access on our website.

In 2024, we plan on featuring four more great GCs in this quarterly newsletter. Although one of those slots is taken, I welcome recommendations for the balance of the year. Who will join these terrific GCs in our Q&A archive? Feel free to suggest yourself too. Great GCs take initiative, after all.

With respect to 2023, I am truly excited about featuring Eleanor Cabrere. Eleanor is the general counsel of Navistar. The medium duty truck manufacturer was one of our first clients back in the late ’90s. The first attorney we ever placed with Navistar went on to become Eleanor’s predecessor in the GC chair. Curt Kramer and Eleanor now share the distinction of being the first GC duo we have featured from the same company, albeit almost 10 years apart.

I look forward to another year of helping great GCs build great teams. We have a pretty good sense of what it takes to be successful in-house, and that experience informs all our searches.

Happy holidays and thank you for your readership!

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