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Be decisive, general counsel!

This blunt advice, as important as it is difficult, comes from Peter Beshar, the General Counsel of Marsh & McClennan, writing in E. Leigh Dance, Bright Ideas: Insights from Legal Luminaries Worldwide (Mill City Press 2009) at 5. Beshar’s essay about the crisis at Marsh in 2005 lays out this and six other recommendations for how a general counsel should act during a crisis – and I would add that decisiveness by the top lawyer reaps rewards at any time.

Beshar knows his colleagues. To be decisive “is particularly hard for lawyers, since we always want more information to make a more informed decision. In a crisis you don’t have that luxury. You need to make decisions based on the best available information and then don’t look back by second guessing yourself.”

By the way, I had to smile at his seventh recommendation. Beshar quotes Winston Churchill’s advice on how to get through any difficult situation: “When you are going through hell, by all means keep going.”