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“… have a large number of lawyers,” Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

An interview in the McKinsey Quarterly, 2009, No. 1 at 146, of Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, should hearten Google’s in-house team and most in-house lawyers. Toward the end of a long session, the McKinsey interviewer asked Schmidt about dangers he foresees “as the Internet continues to develop.” Schmidt comments first on legal and political challenges to the evolution of a “global standard for the Net.” Then he explains what companies should do:

“The most important thing in these situations is to have a large number of lawyers. The reason is that the laws have become so complicated that, to operate globally, every large corporation I know of has to have a lawyer who understands Brazilian law, one who understands Turkish law, and one who understands the European court. In the case of information, and in particular cultural information, there are widespread differences in what’s legal and what’s not. The Internet [response is] that people are subject to the local laws.”

Hooray, and I hope Eric Schmidt is right about the important role of lawyers, notably in-house lawyers.

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