In-house counsel will be valued increasingly for their admixture of business insight and legal judgment. If that prediction bears out, then one consequence, overlooked in the clamor to have in-house counsel demonstrate more business understanding and commercial competence, is that business executives who rely on those lawyers will evaluate their performance, and those evaluations will have teeth (See my posts of July 16, 2005 and April 16, 2006 about business acumen.).
Today, managers of corporate lawyers pick up the odd comment here or there about a lawyer and knead it off-hand into the dough of a performance evaluation. Nearly all of the influential assessments come from lawyers, however, unless the evaluated lawyers report to a business executive. Tomorrow, when business competency rubs shoulders with legal competency, the assessments of business clients will be the yeast that raises the dough