Many general counsel believe that when they retire other general counsel will eagerly seek out their sage management advice. After all, aren’t they begged to speak on panels? Don’t reporters call them for pithy quotes? Aren’t outside counsel bowing and scraping? Don’t consultants swarm like flies? Haven’t they belonged to exclusive GC groups?
Many ex-GCs have hung out the consulting shingle. I can think of Bob Banks (Xerox), Alan Cleveland (Conoco), Sara Holtz (Nestle Beverage), Jim Jarrell (Columbia Gas Transmission), Paul Reynolds (Mirant Asia), Robert Jackson (Olin), Susan Sneider (Turtle Wax), Rachel Robbins (Morgan Stanley), Michael Ross (Safeway), Debra Snider (Heller Financial), Rich Weiss (Motorola), and Peter Zeughauser (Irvine Corporation). Some have succeeded.
The downside for law departments who consider hiring a former GC for consulting assistance is that the former GC may assume that his or her way of solving some management problem is the only right way. But then, perhaps this writer has a shade of bias?