New General Counsel | General Counsel Transition

The genearal counsel role has never been more important.  It has rarely had the degree of influence or responsibility.  The move from a law firm to a corporate legal department general counsel role represents a major professional change. Argopoint has helped leading legal departments manage the range of issues that can accompany the appointment of a new general counsel.

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For many attorneys, the move into a new general counsel role represents a major professional change. It is no secret that corporations tend to operate differently from law firms. Experienced attorneys are often energized by the opportunities that come with the transition into the general counsel leadership position of a corporate department. However, this exciting transition often comes with significant challenges. These challenges can range in scope from the small details (e.g., getting accustomed to a new daily routine) to big picture issues (e.g., understanding the development and communication of strategic objectives). Argopoint has helped new general counsels at leading legal departments manage the range of issues that can accompany a move to an in-house department.

Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information.
— Peter F. Drucker, Leading 20th Century Management Thinker

Many new general counsels have shared powerful (and often humorous) anecdotes emphasizing the difference between law firms and a corporation's operations. The common thread is that corporations tend to be much more formal in terms of management, structure and protocol than law firms. While attorneys often enjoy significant exposure to corporations at their law firm, the transition to corporate life can sometimes come as a bit of a shock. For example, a departing partner may be unfamiliar with the formalities associated with having direct reports.

Argopoint has worked with new general counsels  and their legal departments to develop and implement tools to facilitate the adjustment to a corporate legal department. Our materials and strategic planning are designed to prepare new in-house attorneys for seamless integration into their new legal department. We have helped our clients manage a range of issues relating to the transition to in-house, including:

  • Corporate organizational structures
  • Working with non-legal colleagues (e.g., inventors, corporate executives, procurement)
  • Communication protocol
  • Vendor relationships
  • Budgeting
  • Demonstrating legal department value