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“With the regulation and risk” profile that companies have in today’s environment, “any company that doesn’t have the GC as an integral part of management is just foolish.”

Global Leaders in Law and Lowenstein Sandler recently gathered a group of in-house leaders at Fiola Mare, Washington D.C. to explore the fundamentals of leadership and the future risks that will impact the general counsel’s ability to inspire and influence.

The conversation began with the question as to whether a legal department can be a revenue generator. Those around the table agreed that the legal function can create returns for a company. Participating in class actions is one example that is relatively easy to do, and also creates very big returns. One GC notes that their legal function pays for three full-time lawyers a year through the class action returns. For another GC whose company serves as counsel to a suite of clients in the industry, compliance work for new clients brought in extra revenue. They also created a law firm to handle the legal work for those clients.

The conversation moved more specifically to the need for in-house leaders to take credit; it is important that the organisation knows how the legal department has protected revenue – as well as bringing in new revenue. The legal department can play a key role in ensuring that revenue is captured by the company. For example, actively fighting for or against bid protests in federal government contracts may result in billions of dollars of work remaining with the company. 

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