Becoming a True Partner to the Business

It’s often said that “law school teaches one to think.

It’s often said that “law school teaches one to think.” But in-house legal departments are left to promote the evolution of that thinking into the business arena: formulating strategy, anticipating risk, analyzing potential outcomes, and proposing solutions.

In “Becoming a True Partner to the Business,” an article for the winter 2013 issue of International In-House Counsel Journal, Julie Preng, Managing Director of the Legal Center of Expertise, explores the disconnect between what CEOs expect from their chief legal advisor and the skills most attorneys acquire in private practice.

So how do the best General Counsel run their legal departments so that the in-house legal staff meets the needs of commercial enterprises? Among the approaches: proactively surveying business units about their legal needs; using metrics and other assessment to track performance and accountability; creating communication plans to explain and advocate for their work; and developing “business academy” programs to get lawyers up to speed on finance, accounting, or technology.

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