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A classic statement of why a company hires its first general counsel

Early this year, AmCOMP, Inc., an insurance holding company, announced that it had appointed George E. Harris as Senior Vice President and General Counsel, a new position for the Company. Commenting on the appointment, AmCOMP’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Having expanded our business … as well as completing our initial public offering of stock in 2006, it seemed the right time to create an internal legal department headed by the General Counsel position. We have known and worked with George for more than 20 years as he has represented the Company in numerous matters. Once we decided to form our internal legal department, the hiring selection was easy. George knows insurance law, AmCOMP’s business and our people. He will be able to seamlessly integrate into our corporate culture and provide the necessary legal guidance we require.”

In one paragraph you have all the elements that lead companies to hire their first lawyer, whether or not that pioneer gets the general counsel title. Those drivers include business growth, increased legal complexity, rising external legal costs, familiarity with a lawyer at a firm, and recognition that an employee lawyer combines substantive knowledge and institutional familiarity.

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