An interviewer for strategy+business, Winter 2010 at 118, spoke with Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL Technologies, a $2.6 Indian billion business and information technology services company based. Nayar started a blog and encouraged employees to ask him questions. “The only rule I made was that when you ask the question, it must have your name attached.”
If a general counsel of a large or dispersed law department did the same, the openness could be healthy. It feels to me that the general counsel should commit to publishing and answering all questions, even if only to say “I can’t comment on that” or “The answer, applying to only one person, must be kept confidential.” In other words, members of the law department should trust the when they ask, they will hear something.
Second, and more important, a general counsel who commits to this level of open exchange needs to reply promptly and with all due candor. Explanation delayed is explanation denied.