No, the measure of a law department is not the degree to which it drives corporate profits

“The fundamental goal for legal departments today is to validate the legal budget as a business enabler driving greater profits.” That pugnacious start of a recent article contains more theater than reality. I strongly disagree with its premise.

General counsel spend their budgets to try to manage legal risks wisely while at the same time to enable profitable business activities. You can’t split the baby on those twin goals. Put more sharply, should there be a clear conflict between legality and profitability, the responsibility of the general counsel must be to uphold the law.

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