On the heels of my post that argues for a more limited role of a legal department than a recent white paper advocates (See my post of Jan. 29, 2009: extremely broad scope of responsibility asserted for legal departments.), I started thinking about turf wars among a CEO’s direct reports. Internecine struggles will surely break out if a general counsel lays claim to wide swathes of what other C-suiters believe are their domains. If a chief legal officer reaches for all risk management, what will the CFO say if she has internal audit? Or will the head of human resources quietly cede control over personnel policies? If “systems” are in play won’t the CIO fight back? There will be blood outside the boardroom.
The cited post draws on a white paper that sees the legal department as the pinion that turns much of a company: “Within corporations, legal departments are the axis around which all other departments revolve, especially when it comes to regulation.” We may have a heliocentric universe, but lawyers are not the sun of the company.