A few years ago, when Lockheed Martin Corp.’s senior vice president and general counsel realized his department was overloaded with work, he opted to hire an attorney from one of the outside law firms that represented the company.

But Jim Comey, who’s been the head of Lockheed Martin’s law department over four years, wasn’t covertly luring lawyers from one of those outside firms. Rather, Comey relied on an employment situation called secondment.

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