If the law department needs shaking up, the CEO should hire a general counsel from outside

A piece discussing management of radical new business ideas (NY Times, Jan. 1, 2006 at B4) stridently claims that “you must hire an outsider to run the breakthrough idea because insiders are always wedded to orthodoxy and the inside success formula.”

If the law department has stagnated, quality has sagged, and it has squandered its clients’ confidence, should the Board and CEO to bring in a general counsel from outside the company? After all, “hiring from within kills breakthrough innovation.” I am sympathetic to this assertion, because someone imbued with the fine-china tradition of the department may find it hard to break glass.

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