Magazine Article - Corporate Counsel

The Inside Counsel Revolution

| April 2016

The practical ideal of the modern general counsel is a lawyer-statesperson who is an outstanding technical expert, a wise counselor and an effective leader, and who has a major role assisting the corporation achieve the fundamental goal of global capitalism: the fusion of high performance with high integrity and sound risk management. For the lawyer-statesperson, the first question is: "Is it legal?" But the ultimate question is: "Is it right?"

The vision of the general counsel has been a critical element of the inside counsel revolution that began in the late 1970s and that has increased in scope and power ever since. Working with the CEO and other senior executives, the GC must forge an unbreakable bond between performace, integrity and risk on a set of foundational corporate issues: business strategy, culture, compliance, ethics, risk, governance, citizenship and organization. In so doing, the GC must help create the trust in the enterprise that is so vital to its sustainability and durability: trust among employees, shareholders, creditors, customers, partners, suppliers, regulators, media, NGOs and the public. To carry out this challenging role, the GC must resolve the most basic problem confronting inside lawyers: being partner to the board of directors, the CEO and business leaders but ultimately being guardian of the corporation.

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Heineman, Ben. “The Inside Counsel Revolution.” Corporate Counsel, April 2016.