When we consider data on those lawyers promoted to head the legal team – chief legal officer, head of legal, general counsel, call it what you will – a facile distinction divides them into internal promotions and external hires. But a more nuanced understanding recognizes internal promotions of lawyers who have been with the company several years as different from so-called internal promotions where the lawyer came in only a year or so before expressly to be promoted, assuming all goes well.
Consider the second category as “auditions,” those who joined the company two years or less before being promoted. The term “internal promotion” ought to take into account the misimpression created if a significant number of those lawyers were actually auditions, not veterans (See my post of May 18, 2010: promotions to general counsel with 9 references.).