In-House Counsel

Survey: General Counsel Wish For More Proactive Role at Corporations in 2012

As they ring in 2012, one big resolution for General Counsel is cracking the corporate perception that legal departments are roadblocks rather than facilitators of commercial opportunities.

Being invited too late to the party by corporate officers to deal with business matters effectively was the number one complaint cited among 53 percent of chief legal officers in a survey conducted by Corporate Counsel with its research arm, ALM Legal Intelligence, of 107 general counsel and some of their deputies at U.S. companies.

Although global economic risks were identified as concerns for GCs in the New Year, the majority of respondents were more worried about unknown events or changes in business conditions that could specifically affect their firm or industry.

“One of those things that you worry about is: What don’t I know? I worry less about things that I know,” Evan Slavitt, vice president of business and legal affairs at AVX Corporation, a Myrtle Beach, S.C.–based electronics manufacture, told Corporate Counsel in a follow-up interview.

Despite fear of the unknown, the survey report notes that 47 percent of respondents admitted to not updating crisis-management plans to take account of risks they may face in 2012.

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