Multiple roles of corporate counsel

In her presentation ten years ago at a Corporate Legal Institutes Conference, Janine Petit of The Hearst Corporation outlined no less than nine roles an in-house lawyer might play.

Investigator of the facts
Advocate of the rights of the company
Counselor of basic relevant law
Manager of outside counsel [RWM and inside staff]
Translator of the goals of the company
Analyst of the needs and goals of the corporate officers
Mediator between divergent corporate interests
Responsible party if less than optimal result is achieved.
Realist of the objective chance of success

One can quibble with various of the role definitions – they overlap, they omit, they confuse – but not with Petit’s thrust: in-house counsel are expected to perform in many guises.

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