X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
One of the reasons lawyers get a bad rap is because of their preoccupation with details (remember Bill Clinton’s line, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”? Yes, I voted for him too). But now that I’ve spent six years in this job, I have better insight into why so many of you are, well, anal. When you work with legal documents all day long, important decisions can depend on something as tiny as the placement of a comma. Fair enough. But that’s also why it’s important to hold lawyers accountable when they bungle the little details of their professional life. That includes making sure that they have the proper licensing in the state where they work. As many of you know, 26 states require a special license for lawyers who practice there but are licensed in another state. Yet, our story “A Devilish Detail” (May) found that-as of mid-March-eight of the Fortune 250′s general counsel weren’t officially licensed in the states where they work. (One, Todd DuChene of Solectron, became licensed on March 23.) That story received widespread attention in the business press. As a sign of just how sensitive this issue is, one of those lawyers, Michael DeBacker, was replaced as the chief legal officer of Dana Corp. once his licensing problem became public, according to the company’s April 12 8-K filing (“Tripped Up,” June). Another GC on the list had a colleague call and tell us to run a “retraction” after our original story came out; we were wrong, she said, the GC was licensed. We checked with his state bar association-nothing. We asked the colleague if she’d fax over a copy of his license. We’re still waiting. We didn’t do this research on the Fortune 250′s top lawyers because we wanted to play “gotcha” with high-profile GCs. We did it, in part, to show how crazy these rules are. I’m a big believer that if you’re licensed in one state, that should be sufficient. But the research, and subsequent fallout, is a reminder of how important your jobs are. Whether you are a GC or an assistant GC, you’ve got to get these details-arcane as they are-right. The Law Is in the Details

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.