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The imperial general counsel: an antidote

Power corrupts and for some general counsel, secure at the top of the food chain, immersed in galactic issues, hobnobbing with rich and powerful Board members and executive VPs, flooded with invitations to declaim on their Olympian wisdom, pursued by journalists and puffed up by press clippings, it’s hard to sip lousy coffee from tin mugs with the NCOs.

But to the members of the law department, the physical presence, time, attention and concern of the general counsel has enormous importance. So, when GC Mid-Atlantic, Nov. 2006 at 9, profiled Henry Hopkins, general counsel of T. Rowe Price, it was refreshing to read that he “makes it a point to meet with each of the [16] attorneys in the legal department on a monthly basis, in the interests of promoting healthy avenues of communication and knowledge.”

“Promoting healthy avenues” may be purplish prose, but the idea stands: general counsel should all talk with their lawyers and paralegals regularly, listen to them (See my post of April 16, 2006 about the quality of listening.), and genuinely care about their well-being.

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