In connection with their work as lawyers, of the 235 US general counsel who responded to a recent survey 57 percent “said they would seek personal advice from outside legal counsel, and 48% from outside non-legal advisors.” This startling possibility from a survey jointly conducted by Corporate Board Magazine and FTI Consulting arises primarily in the context of mergers and acquisitions, but also as a result of compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley. But what advice might push a general counsel to hire a lawyer to protect himself or herself personally could also arise in issues of antitrust, bankruptcy, data retention, and e-discovery (See my posts of Dec. 20, 2005; Oct. 24, 2005; and April 15, 2007.).
I have previously written about Boards of Directors retaining independent counsel, but this finding puts a very different twist on an analogous role – independent, personal legal counsel for the general counsel (See my posts of July 25, 2005 about the costs of boards retaining independent counsel; Sept. 27, 2005 #3; Oct. 30, 2005 #2; Feb. 18, 2006 #2; Feb. 19, 2006 #2; and Nov. 24, 2005 #3.).