A controversial recommendation by a consultant to rotate business unit generalists periodically

The veteran consultant Richard Stock wrote a column for the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s quarterly, Leading Corporate Counsel, Fall 2010. Summarizing some of the action tips put forth in a metrics study, the ACLA-CLANZ Legal Department Benchmarking Report, Stock cited one on alignment.

“Rotate lawyers’ alignment away from half of their business units every three years for coverage and effectiveness.” I think this means that lawyers who support a commercial group should do so for three years, no more, and then be reassigned to support a different group. The logic might be to deepen the experience of commercial lawyers and to avoid their “going native” (See my post of Feb. 19, 2006: in-house lawyers risk “going native” compared to “independent” outside counsel.).

Others, quite possibly, would disagree with this advice. They want their commercial lawyers to immerse themselves in the legal issues of the business units they support and they would not want to arbitrarily yank them out of that accumulated trust, familiarity, and strategic knowledge.

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