14 May 2010

Good GC or Great GC: The Seven Characteristics That Make The Difference

A good General Counsel is a step ahead when it comes watching over the legal challenges of your business; unlike the situations outside counsel often find themselves handed, he doesn’t just sweep up the mess, he helps prevent it in the first place.

But a great General Counsel? She finds the business advantage in the prevention; suddenly that corporate compliance program you thought was overpriced is winning you raves from customers looking for ethical companies with which to partner.

Its not just law, its business, and unless your GC is savvy enough to realize that, you may as well just outsource your legal work to the local offices of Big, Law and Firm (BTW, my favorite law firm name is Smart & Biggar from Canada; how could your clients not be confident?).

In my view, there are seven characteristics that make a great General Counsel; make sure yours has at least five of these seven:

  1. She's more Sheriff Andy Taylor, less Wyatt Earp.
  2. He is a businessman who knows a lot about the law, not a lawyer who knows a little about business.
  3. She manages real risks, not theoretical ones.
  4. He knows the best legal solution is not always the best business resolution.
  5. She realizes that over-lawyering and under-lawyering are equally expensive.
  6. He knows more about doing deals, and has done more, than anyone on your team.
  7. She proselytizes for an ounce of prevention over a pound of cure.
Every Monday for the next seven weeks, starting Monday, May 17, I will be blogging about these characteristics, one at at a time.

I hope you will come back and engage me in a discussion!

Copyright 2010 Richard Russeth. All rights reserved.

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