Given the increasing importance of general counsel understanding the business they represent, it makes sense that many of them have held positions outside of the law department. They learn to see the world as a client, and they grapple better with the complexities of their company.
I can think of Mary McDonald (former General Counsel of Merck), Ken Frazier (Merck), Rosemary Berkery (Merrill Lynch – and see my post of Aug. 3, 2005 on her career detour.), and James Lipscomb (MetLife). (See my posts of April 18, 2005 on the high failure rate at Manulife of departing lawyers.)