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Diversity Drives Business Performance

The results of a recent global survey of more than 1,700 companies published in the Harvard Business Review showed that diversity has a favorable impact on financial performance. This data is further fodder for the discussion of the necessity of diversity in our workforces.

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Do You Have "The Right Stuff?"

The Academy Award-winning movie, The Right Stuff, inspires us to think about having the “right stuff” from a new perspective. This mysterious mix is not one single quality, but a composite of attributes driven by a commitment to an ideal and a willingness to keep striving to achieve new levels of success. I’m struck by how this was reflected in the lives of the pilots in the movie who eventually became astronauts; they had to reach beyond their professional status as pilots to embrace a much broader vision of themselves — and that is what eventually defined them.

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Reaching Past Inclusion

Reviewing a recent survey conducted by global management consulting firm BCG, I was struck by the finding that “Diversity plus inclusion is the source of real value.” Since our clients are always looking for diverse talent and striving to improve diversity and inclusion within their organizations, I asked one of our Senior Advisors, Michelle Banks, to share her thoughts on the subject. Michelle and I discussed the idea that legal departments should be considering the next step beyond diversity and inclusion: creating a culture of belonging.

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Four Steps to Optimize Your Legal Department

As in-house legal departments continue to grow and legal leadership continues to enjoy a greater scope and influence within the business, the legal team is, conversely, expected to do more with less.

According to the latest Acritas global survey of senior in-house counsel, the proportion of an organization’s legal budget allocated internally has increased from 37 percent in 2013 to 43 percent in 2017.

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Most Unreasonable Expectations Placed on Legal Departments

As in all companies, internal expectations vary between business units. Of these various relationships, one of the most dynamic and complex exists between business and legal, sometimes leading to occasions where the business places unrealistic expectations on the law department. To navigate this incongruity, I reached out to several sitting General Counsels from organizations of all sizes and compiled some of the issues and solutions below. In the end, communication and a strong relationship with the business prove to be most valuable.

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Top Seven Skills Required by Direct Reports to the General Counsel

Change. Transformation. Disruption. Innovation. Today’s buzzwords ring throughout corporate America. Yet these terms aptly describe what I experienced as a long-tenured general counsel in a company that transitioned from wholly-owned to private, to a company owned by the federal government, and finally a public company. I served under five different CEOs and a board of directors that turned over at least four times, each of the entities requiring a different set of skills. Facing numerous changes and challenges, I knew that one constant would ensure success: surrounding myself with a great in-house legal team. To build a good team, I created this checklist to review when hiring or promoting direct reports.

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