Paraphrased in a recent profile, the General Counsel of AOL, Julie Jacobs, “sees the role of corporate counsel as establishing trust both inside and outside the company.” She makes other points in the long piece about expectations for inside counsel, but this one made me sit back and try to figure out what she meant.
No doubt, if an executive doesn’t trust a lawyer, either for the accuracy of advice or fundamental loyalty, directness, and ethical compass, then the attorney-client relationship collapses. Essential trust missing, all is lost, but presumably such doubts arise rarely (well, execs may wonder about the sharpness of their internal lawyers but hopefully not their bona fides).
Jacobs may have said something regarding her expectations of her 50-lawyer team about respect and reliability or professional integrity, which got boiled down by the journalist to “trust.” You can decide for yourself from SuperLawyers, Bus. Ed. 2011 at 143. For everyone, your word should be your bond.