If you’re a new general counsel, you can learn a lot about avoiding worst practices from seasoned GCs and board members. This month’s column may help new GCs accelerate that learning while reducing the pain. Errors come in the form of strategic bad judgment or tactical misses in the throes of drinking from a fire hose.

Failing to pay attention to relationships as well as your legal responsibilities to the company can cause serious issues. Strong relationships with those who interface with the board are key. In addition to the CEO, consider the CRO (chief risk officer), the CFO, the ethics officer, and the heads of human resources and internal audit, and perhaps some business unit leaders as well. This group is the GC’s “magic circle.” Getting context, advice, the benefit of the experience from, and collaborating with, this magic circle, according to experts, is essential to the new GC successfully navigating mine fields and pitfalls.

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