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Sarbanes-Oxley means the end of life as we know it. At least that’s the impression a visitor to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Web site’s comments page would have come away with in the last few months. Scores of chief legal officers and law firms weighed in on such proposed rules as “noisy withdrawal” and insider participation on corporate boards. The economy would grind to a halt if the proposed corporate governance regulations went into effect, they said. Six months after the passage of the monumental reform bill, business life goes on, pretty much as it did before. So far, anyway no new Enrons or WorldComs have emerged. But in-house law departments have been thrown into a new world, one in which their actions are potentially subject to scrutiny, lawsuits, and — when things go horribly wrong — criminal prosecution. And, as with any new terrain, a good guide or two sure comes in handy. This month we take a look at the new corporate counsel landscape. First up is General Electric Company general counsel Benjamin Heineman, who talks about GE’s corporate governance initiative, and shows that all a GC needs is honesty and common sense. We spoke to other prominent CLOs about how their work lives are changing, too, under the new rules. And in the Outbox, we celebrate the new vocabulary spawned by “SOX.”

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