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The corporate part of a lawyer’s title sets a pecking order

In-house lawyers want respect and they want to be dealt with by their colleagues as a peer. If they are mostly Vice Presidents but their business colleagues are dotted with Senior Vice Presidents and Executive Vice Presidents, the perceived demeanment at best is an irritation but at worst precludes them from information, networks, and privileges.

The difference is not between Associate General Counsel and Assistant General Counsel. The difference is between Vice President and nothing, or between Vice President and Senior Vice President. It is the corporate handle, not the legal title, that elevates you. Both morale and effectiveness suffer if there is not reasonable alignment of titles.

Since my previous metapost on titles (See my post of June 26, 2008: titles with 15 references.), there have been eight more posts (See my post of Jan. 2, 2009: Head of Dispute Resolution and Risk Management; April 6, 2009: role sizing to match titles to responsibilities; May 3, 2009: different titles than in the U.S. for the top lawyer in the UK; Oct. 12, 2009: can a lawyer not admitted here be a U.S. “General Counsel”; March 31, 2010: 21 titles for administrators; Jan. 20, 2010: embedded lawyers and titles at Colt Telecom; June 10, 2011: unusual titles at Allstate; and July 26, 2010: the best ever title for a GC.).

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