A wholesale repotting of in-house lawyers (Royal Dutch Shell)

InsideCounsel, May 2007 at 66, profiles Beat Hess, the global corporate counsel of Royal Dutch Shell. That $220 billion company, the world’s third-largest oil company, has a 700-attorney legal team. Given that humongous number of lawyers, no wonder Hess has established a “one team” legal model, where he set common goals for the international legal team.

What awed me, however, was that as part of integrating the energy behemoth’s army of lawyers, Hess “relocated half of the attorneys from the London office to the legal headquarters in The Hague.” I strongly favor putting lawyers near their clients, but that may have been a massive – and costly – implementation of that belief(See my post of June 7, 2006 about BHP relocating some lawyers.). Such a large move runs the risk of losing good talent who decline to relocate.

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