Foley & Lardner hosted a Web conference in Chicago Wednesday on the changing role of the chief legal officer.

Expense management featured prominently in the discussion, as did the move many top legal officers are making into the boardroom. Panelists also engaged in a lively discussion of where compliance falls on the continuum of a legal department’s duties.

Todd Hartman, associate general counsel and chief compliance officer for Best Buy, said he directs his position toward looking at risk, though he noted many other companies use a similar role as an enforcer to drive compliance.

At Health Care Services Corp., CLO Deborah Dorman Rodriguez said the compliance officer serves as a first line of defense. “[The compliance officer] needs to make sure employees and management know what they need to do to address issues at the lowest level,” she said.

Other panelists included Janet Kelley, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Meijer and Foley Partners Patrick Daugherty and Todd Pfister.

Read more on how legal departments are dealing with compliance in the May issue of InsideCounsel, coming soon.