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Success in assignments outside the legal department burnishes a resume for the top legal spot

The new top gun at Lockheed Martin’s legal department, Maryanne Lavan, put her sights on the general counsel position with a two-decade career that included significant stints outside the legal department. Among her posts she served as vice president of ethics and business conduct and – since 2007 – as vice president of internal audit. Corp. Counsel, Sept. 2010 at 39, provides this background information.

Many general counsel arrive from a law firm; a few held significant posts on the business side (Jeff Kindler at McDonalds or Jim Lipscomb at MetLife, for two examples). Lavan gives proof of the career-building steps that take a future general counsel out of the legal department for seasoning (Mary McDonald headed strategic planning at Merck before becoming the general counsel, as I recall). More executives know you and you know the company better.