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Different views for UK heads of legal than for US general counsel

In February 2003, Legal Director and Baker & McKenzie interviewed more than 100 heads of legal and general counsel at leading multinational companies with operations in Europe. Their report has a number of intriguing points (See my post of April 12, 2006, for their findings on reporting lines.)

Surprisingly, 71 percent of the European heads of legal would consider sitting as a non-executive director for another company. The main reasons for not wanting to consider being an outside director of another company were time constraints (31%), conflicts of interest (24%), too much responsibility (21%), and lack of interest 21%). I haven’t heard of US GCs sitting on the boards of other for-profit companies.

“One in four (26%) said that they were happy where they were.” That high level of dissatisfaction astounds me (See my post of June 28, 2005 about general counsel disengagement.). I have seen no comparable estimate for US general counsel, but voluntary turnover rates do not support such a level of grumpiness.

“Legal training accounted for, on average, over half of the training (56%) for in-house lawyers. This was followed by management training (16%), IT and data protection (3%) [The percentages did not total 100 in the summary.]. This finding comports with US training – dominated by substantive legal exposure.