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Large European law departments coming to resemble those of the US

A recent survey published in Law Dept. Quarterly, Sept./Nov. 2006 at 19, suggests that some practices common in US law departments are becoming more common in European law departments. General counsel reporting is one example, since 19 of the 57 general counsel who completed the online questionnaire report to the CEO or managing director. Another 21 percent report to the chairman or another director in the company. Nearly all US general counsel report to their company’s president or CEO.

Second the number of European general counsel who sit on the board of directors has dropped significantly from the figure from the comparable survey done three years earlier. In the United States, in-house general counsel attend board and committee meetings but are rarely directors.

As a third correspondence, in 60 percent of the European companies, compliance and corporate secretarial functions report into the law department or the roles are combined. This structure is in accord with the most common situation in the US.