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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

General Counsel Increasingly Involved in Business Strategy


Nat Slavin was quoted in an article published in the Daily Journal on Nov. 28, 2012 about how general counsel have been assuming a bigger role when it comes to business strategy. The article cited as one  possible reason some new business regulations and the need for lawyers to help navigate them. It also listed a number of surveys that indicate that general counsel pay is rising.

Slavin told the paper that the attorneys themselves are likely the reason why the general counsel role now has more value.

“Regulations have always existed and the GC has to stay on top of them, and they certainly create uncertainty,” Slavin wrote in an email to the paper. “The evolution of the GC is much more related to the current generation of chief legal officers who understand that their jobs are about managing a business unit, and all that entails, than just practicing law.”

Slavin also noted that more companies have been doing legal work in-house, which has changed the nature of general counsel jobs.

“When once companies hired outside counsel to do the heavy lifting, smart companies have exceptional lawyers in-house who are quite capable of the most sophisticated and nuanced legal thinking; just as much as their outside counsel,” he said. “The use of outside counsel is not as much about ‘better’ lawyers being on the outside as it is about legal bandwidth; legal departments will always struggle with whether to build or buy legal services.”

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