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In re Posner: Ten-year term limit for general counsel?

Judge Richard Posner, the prolific Circuit Court judge, was interviewed by the New York Rev. of Books, Sept. 29, 2011 at 49. Asked about the ages of appellate judges and their effectiveness in their seventies and eighties, Posner offered his obiter dicta: “I think for anybody in a management job, ten years is the limit; you make enemies, you get stale.”

My goodness, what a change that would foist on legal departments if the top position had a term limit of a decade. “Career path” would take on a whole different meaning; search firms would exult. Senior titles would flex and “general counsel” would change to “chief legal officer” or there would be much more turnover at the top.

Do not misunderstand: I do not recommend this disparaging fancy of Posner’s. It takes years to learn the ropes at the top and to cast that hard-earned knowledge and social capital away prematurely would be a waste. Reversed and remanded for further consideration.

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