Study Reveals the Power of the Business-Minded General Counsel

A study by BarkerGilmore and NYSE Governance Services

The role of General Counsel continues to evolve as more board members and C-suite officers expect their legal chiefs to up their contribution to company goals.

The expectation of the General Counsel today is to contribute to the organization well beyond the traditional compliance and litigation focus, and take an enterprising stance in the corporate and strategic planning process within the boardroom. According to the results of an exclusive study, the GC’s value as a member of the executive team is strengthened by their ability to contribute to the strategic growth of the business.

The study, The Power of the Business-Minded General Counsel, was conducted by executive search firm BarkerGilmore and NYSE Governance Services, and surveyed the opinions of CEOs and directors of publicly traded companies nationwide.

Key findings of the study include:

  • GCs make the greatest business impact in their handling of corporate governance matters.
  • Business strategy is the clear frontrunner for where GCs can add more value.  Similarly, business acumen is a now top ranking core competency for today’s GC to be considered a valuable strategic advisor.
  • When it comes time to replace a GC, 57% recommend benchmarking internal candidates against external talent, 37% said the company should focus on external candidates, and 6% recommend focusing solely on internal candidates.
  • As CEOs and directors increasingly look to the GC to act as a trusted and strategic advisor to the business, confidence in GC and law department succession planning is on the decline.

BarkerGilmore Managing Partner John Gilmore noted that “with law department budgets running so lean, it is uncommon for a clear successor to be identified and closely aligned with the board, especially at small or mid-sized companies.”

“This research validates what we have experienced for years,” Managing Partner Bob Barker commented.  “No matter how strong the internal candidates may be, boards almost always insist on benchmarking internal candidates against a field of external talent.  It is understandable that the board wants to make a well-informed decision and be certain that the very best person sits in the seat.”

To view the full study, visit The Power of the Business-Minded General Counsel.

BarkerGilmore is a boutique executive search firm dedicated exclusively to the placement of General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officers and their strategic hires nationwide. 

Media Contact

Amy Feldman
(585) 598-6559

Source: BarkerGilmore