General counsel are viewed as bastions of ethics and legal expertise. But, of course, they’re not infallible. Some have stolen millions of dollars from their companies. Others have been accused of withholding records from regulators.

It’s an uncomfortable topic that’s not widely discussed in the in-house realm, but legal chiefs get fired or forced out of companies. And when it does happen, when a general counsel gets the boot, corporate leaders confront a tangled array of legal, governance and public relations minefields.