Evolving Role of the General Counsel

First Reviewed : August 11, 2021
Last Reviewed: August 11, 2021

General counsel, along with various other departments of corporations, generally worked in silos, each with their heads down doing their own thing. But in a swiftly changing work environment, general counsel can find themselves donning many hats, expanding their counsel beyond legal, and even taking on roles that weren’t always associated with law. The Association of Corporate Counsel notes that this shift from exclusively legal eagle to master-of-all took place shortly after the 2008-2009 recession when the lines between corporate and corporate law were blurred.

Beyond legal

General counsel offer sound legal advice to, and represent, their companies in the capacity of an attorney. But they go above and beyond legal, and are an asset to the companies they work for.

Advice isn’t free

Adept at cognition and great with numbers, general counsel oftentimes are trusted and reliable members of their company’s board of directors or management. While they excel in representing their company on legal matters, general counsel are often asked to advise further on how to better the company whether through infrastructure management, or to offer sound financial input. A holistic approach that also has a legal angle is always appreciated in climbing towards success.

Risking it all

A KPMG study found that more and more corporations are pulling their general counsel from their legal-only bastions and getting them involved in major decisions company-wide, based on their overall business acumen.

Is it a good time to invest big in a project now, or should we wait it out? These questions are part of risk management – a serious topic and big money for corporations. Enlisting the seasoned and intelligent foresight that general counsel offers gives companies the best of both the legal and financial world. Chalking up a risk management plan with an attorney on board is always the winning option.

Secure the field

Law has everything to do with keeping people safe. And in the best interests of their companies, it makes sense for general counsel to be sought out to impart security and safety guidelines to secure the company, its assets, and its employees, among others.

To sum it up, general counsel bravely go where other lawyers don’t, and wear many hats all at once – without shirking duties in any of them. Dentons shares the upward trend in general counsel going above and beyond law and proving to be assets to the companies they represent.

General counsel may find themselves spread too thin, or racing against the clock when they don multiple hats. Alternative legal service providers facilitate the expansion strategy from general counsel to powerhouse. Managing time and resources is key to keeping general counsel on the dot in whichever capacity they function in beyond law.

With over 15 years of expertise crafting customized solutions for satisfied general counsel across the United States, LegalEase Solutions is an award-winning ALSP, poised to help general counsel grow beyond the legal sphere.

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