A piece from the UK, in Legal Week, Vol. 8, June 8, 2006, discusses the logic that combines legal oversight with government relations oversight. The article cites as examples the top lawyers in Europe of Microsoft (David Parker), McDonald’s (Julian Hilton-Johnson) and Dell (Richard Norman).
The lawyers cited in the article see legal work as aimed at day-to-day issues whereas government relations (corporate affairs) focuses on larger concerns: “setting a legal framework which is in the company’s best interests.” With laws and regulations all pervasive, that kind of public policy involvement can be crucial, and it is good that lawyers are perceived as the best people to coordinate two important concerns of corporations: law and public policy (See my post of Aug. 27, 2005 about Microsoft and lobbying and March 3, 2006 about its oblique connection to law.).