Cheryl Foy is university secretary and general counsel at UOIT in Oshawa, Ontario and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Column: Practising In-house
Column: Practising In-house
Monday, 11 March 2013 08:00
Monday, 25 February 2013 08:00
Monday, 14 January 2013 10:14
There is, predictably and understandably, more interest in specific issues than in the profession as a whole. In-house lawyers are not unique in focusing on more immediate matters: Have I fulfilled my mandatory continuing professional development obligations? Do I have the information and skills I need to do my job well? Do I feel part of a community? Are my professional networks intact? As I look around however, I see relatively few of us are interested in the evolution of the role of in-house lawyers and I’d hazard a pretty educated guess fewer still care about the political organization of in-house lawyers or the associations and other groups that represent in-house lawyers.
Monday, 10 December 2012 09:14
The in-house practice of law differs dramatically from the practice of the traditional private practice lawyer. I agree with those of you who say internal and external lawyers have more in common than we don’t, but I don’t agree with those who use that as a reason to subsume the in-house lawyers within the larger group for all purposes. This is not a column about “piling on” to criticize outside counsel. I believe we should all work to ensure the relationship between in-house lawyers and private practice lawyers (between all lawyers for that matter) is collegial and respectful.
Monday, 12 November 2012 08:01
It is clear that in-house lawyers now play pivotal and influential roles in the corporate world. In his blog, Ben Heineman recently noted: “The general counsel, not the senior partner in the law firm, is now often the go-to counsellor for the chief executive and the board on law, ethics, public policy, corporate citizenship, and country and geopolitical risk. The general counsel is now a core member of the top management team and offers advice not just on law and related matters but helps shape discussion and debate about business issues. Because ‘business in society’ issues pose so much risk (and in some cases opportunity), the general counsel is viewed in many companies as having the same stature as the chief financial officer. Company legal departments are staffed not just by broad generalists but by outstanding specialists in all the areas covered by private firms, including litigation, tax, trade, mergers and acquisitions, labour and employment, intellectual property, environmental law.”
Monday, 08 October 2012 08:00
At any given time, it is important to be able to look yourself in the eye and believe you are doing the right thing. The “right thing” is a course of conduct we pursue with few or no reservations. The “right thing” is behaviour we would have no hesitation disclosing to those we want to think well of us. As in-house counsel, we should always be trying to do the right thing for our organizations and ensuring our colleagues do the same.
Monday, 13 August 2012 08:00
We use the words “team” and “teamwork” all the time in business. I think back to football analogies and rowing analogies used by my former CEOs. I recently watched the Olympic women’s soccer. After my immense disappointment at the Canadian team’s loss to the United States, the sense of admiration for the grit and determination shown by the Canadian women, the anger and disappointment at the decisions made by the Norwegian referee when Canada was in the lead and showing great momentum, I mused about why we use sports analogies so often in business and why, in so many cases, the analogies do not neatly apply in the business context.
Monday, 09 July 2012 09:29
Just before completing this column, I read that the general counsel of Yahoo Inc. announced his resignation effective July 9. The article about the resignation states, “with the general counsel’s impromptu exit, all eyes are back on the company.” As resignation has to be the last resort for any general counsel, I wonder how many people have any appreciation for the internal battles fought and the pressures faced by any GC in the period before he or she makes the decision to resign.
Monday, 11 June 2012 08:49
If you’re easily excited and not a mischief-maker, the world of in-house leadership is apparently not for you. This is according to a report produced by a legal search firm that mined its own data on the skill sets of executive candidates as compared with the success of these same candidates when placed into roles within organizations.
Monday, 14 May 2012 09:00
After years of trying to manage the multiple responsibilities of a full-time and demanding senior in-house role, with those of mother and spouse, a friend of mine recently decided to resign from her job. She tried to make it work, including negotiating with her employer to reduce her hours. Her efforts were to no avail. That decision took courage and is to be congratulated as my friend, when forced, chose a path in keeping with her priorities of family first. What irritates me is that she had to make the choice in the first place. It is a significant loss to her employer, and a loss to the in-house community.