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Editor’s Note

The attorneys featured in the following articles are a group we don’t often report on—in-house lawyers. The Outstanding Legal Department project gave us a chance to find out more about those attorneys behind the scenes who advise senior management, guiding their companies through decision-making on a daily basis; oversee thousands of legal matters; call the shots on litigation and pressure firms to cut costs or bring on more diverse attorneys.

Overall Outstanding Legal Department

A commercial Renaissance on the scale of American International Group takes more than business savvy, financial acumen and marketing insight. It takes a crackerjack in-house legal team like AIG’s Global Legal, Compliance, Regulatory and Government Affairs group.

Diversity, Quality of Life / Large Department
JPMorgan Chase & Co.

When Matthew Biben was tapped to lead the legal diversity committee for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in late 2012, his upbringing had already prepared him for the task. “I had a strong grandmother and mother,” he said. “I always had strong women around me, and that fostered a sense of equality.”

Diversity, Quality of Life / Government
NYS Thruway Authority

Despite having only nine attorneys in the Thruway Authority in-house department, chief counsel William Estes said a small department can offer and support flexible schedules that benefit both employer and employee.

Diversity, Quality of Life and Technology / Mid-size Department

It’s not easy for a midsize legal department to operate as a single unit when more than half of its lawyers work outside the United States. But the 60 attorneys who serve as in-house counsel for The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. have tapped into a private social network to share documents, discuss best practices and collaborate on projects, helping lawyers from New York to Dubai work as a team.

Managing Outside Counsel / Small Department
Banco Popular

Banco Popular North America’s in-house legal department knows how to do more with less. With only three attorneys, two paralegals and one administrative assistant, the department maintains close relationships with about a dozen outside law firms while keeping legal matters in-house as much as possible to control costs.

Managing Outside Counsel / Government
Suffolk County Law Dept.

Based in one of the state’s most populated counties, the Suffolk County Law Department has no shortage of work. The office brings in outside counsel on a broad range of legal matters including labor negotiations, municipal finance, medical malpractice and liability defense related to the county’s public busing system.

Pro Bono
BNY Mellon

When BNY Mellon’s top in-house lawyer Jane Sherburne joined Bank of New York Mellon Corporation four years ago, she immediately recognized the need for a formal pro bono program for her department.