Corporate Counsel – 6830

Fall 2020

Participants will learn the unique challenges of working in-house as corporate counsel with public, private or nonprofit organizations, developing perspectives and skills to think like and be effective business lawyers and leaders. You will work individually and in teams to address simulations on problems regularly encountered by corporate counsel, including in areas of risk, compliance and ethics management, governance and the board of directors, leading in crisis, business strategy and planning, international transactions, investigations, litigation management, employment, and intellectual property. Participants may conduct research, draft agreements and memoranda, conduct interviews, negotiate, and develop papers based on practical exercises that are the backbone of the course. Perspectives developed will include exploring the balance among the in-house lawyer’s professional responsibilities and business/leadership responsibilities owed the organization. Students will explore the three fundamental roles of corporate counsel – acute technician, wise counselor, and lawyer as leader – in a series of problems faced by corporate counsel. This course involves questions beyond "what is legal" and focus on "what is right", using specific illustrations drawn from the contemporary business world. These illustrations involve a broad range of considerations: ethics, reputation, risk management, public policy, politics, communications, and corporate citizenship. The course will advance for critical analysis the idea of the corporate counsel as lawyer-businessperson-statesperson who has a central role in setting the direction of the organization but who must also navigate complex internal relationships (with business leaders, the board of directors, peer senior officers, the bureaucracy) and challenging external relationships (with stakeholders, governments, law firms, NGOs, and media in nations and regions across the globe). The course advances a broad view of lawyers’ roles and examines the skills, beyond understanding law, required in complex problem-solving by the corporate counsel.