This study explores the changing role of the general counsel by documenting its evolution and predicting the skill sets that will be required for future general counsel to be successful. Central themes to this skill set include the ability to place legal issues in a larger business context, embrace risk and make decisions, communicate with business partners in language they can relate to, and work seamlessly with the executive team and the board of directors to make productive decisions about operations and strategy, which has become increasingly global in scope. The report includes an executive summary, key findings, interview excerpts and the methodology.
The GC role has evolved significantly in the past few decades. As the business environment has become more regulated and global, the general counsel has become a more integral member of the executive team. This research analyzes the ongoing evolution of the general counsel role. In particular, it seeks to:
- capture the current state of the role of the general counsel;
- understand how and where the role appears to be evolving; and
- identify the skills and competencies that will be required for general counsel to be successful in the future.