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The not-atypical path of one general counsel to the top

The profiles of general counsel are pretty dry as far as law department management juiciness. Still, squeezing a recent one about Maryanne Lavan, the lawyer leading Lockheed Martin’s 136 worldwide attorneys, you see a useful drip. She spent six years at a law firm, then six years at Lockheed as an Assistant General Counsel. Promoted to be the general counsel of a business unit, she held that post for six years and then spent four as VP, Ethics and Business Conduct. Continuing her development, Lavan served three years as VP, Internal Audit, until last year she gained her present perch.

Within the now $45.8 billion aerospace giant, therefore, she served in four positions, two of them not directly practicing law, and was groomed and tested for 19 years. Someone could compile data about career progression on leading general counsel, but it would probably not be out of order to find a similar timing and number of steps after cutting one’s teeth at a law firm.

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