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How much did Sarbanes-Oxley Rock Your World? Six months after the landmark corporate governance legislation was signed into law, we decided to find out. Veteran staff reporter Catherine Aman, who is being promoted to staff editor, spoke to a number of GCs and other experts in the field. Many in-house lawyers downplayed the legislation’s impact at their companies. In “Clean SOX” (page 66), a half-dozen of you told Aman that the new statutes had only refined compliance systems that were already in place. But even überGC Benjamin Heineman, the legal chief at General Electric, told Aman in a sit-down interview (“The Founding Father,” page 62) that Sarbanes-Oxley and the proposed NYSE requirements had spurred some changes at the conglomerate. GE’s board was one of the first to pin down the slippery definition of an independent director, to establish an annual board self-evaluation process, and to require twice-annual visits to businesses by nonemployee directors. We know, too, that private companies and foreign businesses are also feeling the pinch of these new laws, and in “Not Just for the Big Guys” (page 51) and “The Great Rapprochement” (page 72), respectively, we scrutinize those issues. Finally, our special report explores how the new rules and regs have infiltrated our language. Lawyer-speak has always been cluttered with polysyllabic words and obscure Latin. Sui generis , anyone? But the new corporate governance language, as Aman elegantly points out (“SOX Hop,” page 198), is particularly colorful. That may be the only thing about Sarbanes-Oxley we can all agree on.

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