Myths about lawyers abound, like the one that making partner means you can now relax and count the money as it rolls in. Another one is that in-house lawyers only work a nine-to-five schedule with little real responsibility.

Regardless of whether the view of the general counsel’s job as a sinecure was ever true, lawyers responsible for advising a single corporate client as an employee have come in for increased scrutiny by regulators and prosecutors. While at one time a criminal prosecution or SEC action against a general counsel was almost unheard of, ever since the adoption of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 these lawyers have been operating with a bull’s-eye on their backs.

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