By Stephanie Mullette, Robert E. Bostrom, National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), Abercrombie & Fitch

Introduction: As the role of general counsel has evolved, they are increasingly called upon to provide corporate boards with advice on company strategy and business operations. This has led the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) to launch a new initiative, the Strategic-Asset GC, designed to help boards fulfill their mission of creating long-term corporate value. Stephanie Mullette, NACD’s Director of Corporate Solutions, and Robert E. Bostrom, previously a lawyer at the Federal Reserve of New York who became a partner at Winston & Strawn, SNR Denton and Greenberg Traurig, and general counsel of NatWest Bancorp, Freddie Mac and, currently, Abercrombie & Fitch, discuss below the initiative and what it takes to be a Strategic-Asset GC. Their remarks have been edited for length and style.Continue Reading GC Outlook: Clear and Stormy: In a crisis, it’s easy to contribute. The challenge is when it’s calm.

By: Joe Calve, Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

Last month, in the sweltering depths of a tumultuous summer, the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ), an association of top state judicial leaders, and its civilian counterpart, the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), took an important, if little noticed, step toward righting a badly listing civil justice ship. Both groups threw their weight behind a report by CCJ’s 23-member Civil Justice Improvement Committee (CJIC), led by Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer of Oregon, beseeching state judicial leaders to take 13 specific steps to improve the U.S. civil justice system. The report, entitled “Call to Action: Achieving Civil Justice for All,” is a joint venture of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), with funding provided by the State Justice Institute (SJI). Joining Balmer’s committee were a number of corporate law department representatives, including David G. Leitch, Global GC of Bank of America; Tom Falahee, Assistant GC of Ford; and two retired GCs, Thomas Allman of BASF and Kim Brunner of State Farm.

If acronyms are any indicator, this effort just may have legs.

As we’ve written here previously, the planets
Continue Reading Civil Justice Playbook: A Call for Customer-Centric Courts

By: Veta T. Richardson, Association of Corporate Counsel and Caren Ulrich Stacy, OnRamp Fellowship

At the entry level, men and women join the legal profession at the same rates, yet by the time they reach leadership roles, less than 20 percent of partners are women. Corporate legal departments suffer the same disparity. This leaky pipeline is partially due to women’s choice to set aside their careers for child-rearing. As a recruiter, Caren Ulrich Stacyrecognized that a highly motivated talent pool was not being tapped and created OnRamp Fellowship – now joined by OnRamp In-House, an initiative the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) has joined with – to reintroduce women lawyers returning to the field after an absence. Here, Stacy and Veta T. Richardson of ACC discuss the evolution the program and the depth of the need to address the root causes. Their remarks have been edited for length and style.

MCC: What is the mission behind OnRamp Fellowship?

Stacy: OnRamp Fellowship is a re-entry or “returnship” platform that offers opportunities for women lawyers interested in returning to the workforce after taking time off from their legal jobs in order to raise a family or pursue other

Continue Reading An On-Ramp to the C-Suite: A joint initiative aims to return motivated female lawyers to corporate counsel roles nationwide

By: Matt Kivlin, ELM Solutions, A Wolters Kluwer Business

Last year at Legaltech New York I spoke to an in-house attorney about one of her worst days on the job. She was hard at work on litigation related to a compliance breach. The breach had occurred because the compliance staff mistakenly believed that a particular regulation did not apply to their business unit. There had been an internal investigation of the incident, but she was having difficulty verifying the steps the company had taken because the records were in disarray. Some of the investigation files were incorrectly moved into an unrelated archive, while other activities were undocumented altogether.

While trying to navigate the morass, she received a mass email from a colleague instructing everyone, incorrectly, that a certain regulation – yes, the very same one now making my friend’s life so difficult – was not applicable to the company. She feared that another breach could result and that she’d have to go through the process all over again.

Fortunately, the embattled attorney was able to quickly contact the right colleague and have a correction sent out. But she was understandably frustrated by the difficulties she’d encountered, particularly because she

Continue Reading Tightening Up Links Drives Down Risks: Integrated infrastructure facilitates GRC-Legal compliance cooperation