Glass abstract of outside building.

A GC as business leader

06 May 2015

It’s already an accepted fact that the role of the general counsel has changed fundamentally, particularly in the years since Lehmans crashed.

What this research bears out is the extent to which GCs are now integral to the formulating of the commercial strategy of their businesses.

In private practice, we need to be alive to this, and develop our thinking and service to accord with the new pressures that GCs face. Gone are the days when external advisers could simply dispense legal advice in a vacuum – today it’s as important to frame that advice in broad commercial terms that make sense not just to GCs, but to the c-suite executives they work for. Some firms have already made great strides in this area but, as the research suggests, many still have a long way to go.

One of the more notable refrains to emerge from this research is the proportion of GCs who aspire to sit on boards, either of their own companies or other organisations. This supports the general theme of them wanting, and having, a growing say at the boardroom table. In an increasingly regulated world, and one in which the aftershocks of the most severe of financial downturns are still being felt, this can only be a good thing, and it is a trend that will inevitably gather further pace in future.