2022 marks a turning point for the general counsel role that has been around for over 40 years. The last 12 months show that we need a new leadership model for legal. Our industry has now seen (a) unprecedented levels of labor mobility, burnout and resignation (see my last article here), (b) frenzied investments in the billions of dollars to transform legal practice through technology, and (c) heavy pressure from boards and investors to demonstrate efficient growth through uncertain economic and political environments as valuations swing. The modern GC faces these challenges with a measured approach perfectly balancing their proven strengths with a more effective blueprint for success.

The modern GC is a company executive who also happens to be a fantastic lawyer. GCs are the voice for sustainable growth and integrity who complete the ensemble for any high functioning executive team. Whether this is a GC team of one or one that leads dozens of technical experts, they effectively blend your company leadership and functional role seamlessly. This role should not feel like constant context switching; it is one role and an absolute thrill ride. As an example, the modern GC demonstrates value in both capacities when leading a sensitive internal investigation for legal, and when developing the company muscle further debriefing risks and investment priorities to the audit committee. Effective general counsel have mastered the ability to look through issues to identify and solve underlying business problems all while managing company risk. The modern GC is an underutilized key to unlocking sustainable growth.

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