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Too exalted and expansive a sense of the general counsel’s role

An interview of a law firm partner in the Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 15, July 2007 at 47, goes on and on about mythical general counsel and their expanding – exploding is actually closer – roles. The height of folly was the following quote: “A General Counsel of a major company I work with describes her role as having moved far beyond the legal issues. Her legal department has gained such credibility that it is the hard issues — irrespective of whether they carry legal implications — that are referred to it” (emphasis in the original). That general counsel is off the reservation.

If it were to come to pass that a law department becomes a general solver of business problems, then there would be no managerial boundaries for its size, scope, mix of employees, attorney-client privilege, structure or performance measurement.