The shift to have legal gumshoes match the corporate footprint – lawyers spread where the business is

Sabine Chalmers mentions in her recent column the “some 200 individuals worldwide” in her legal department at Anheuser-Busch InBev. She emphazes “retaining and building local talent” as well as “the even distribution of in-house lawyers throughout the company’s markets – as opposed to a large US or European-based legal team with a smattering of attorneys in other countries – helps minimize risk and bolster business on all sides.” That management belief, expressed in the ACC Docket, Vol. 27, Dec. 2009 at 90-91, is freighted with consequences for the structure of the legal team.

Chalmers may be a bellwether as she probably runs her department ahead of the curve on location. It makes sense that increasingly global legal departments will match where their lawyers are with where their customers and executives are (See my post of Jan. 16, 2009: decentralized law departments physically with 13 references.).

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