If you consider the usual duties of the general counsel, the primary is to offer a legal opinion on the corporate strategy, manage the filings of the corporate entities for which they render their services, and also provide legal support on the transactions. However, the role of the general counsel litigation service has undergone a few changes in the digital era and they are not only to increase the demand of the legal services but to enhance the importance of the general counsel. The following points are going to highlight the role of the council during the digital business era.
- Role of board advisor
With the changing needs of the company, the role of the board is also going to change and the general counsel is expected to be proactive when it comes to managing the board. Ideally, the team of legal professionals need to ensure that the board comprises of people with the right experience and skills and the knowledge of i the risks involved in the business operations. To select the right individual for the fulfillment of this role, the general counsel needs to think over the process of nomination and boost their efforts to educate the directors in the board. Similarly, the board of directors must have information about the expectations of the government and assess the risk factors in the corporate world. When it comes to the general counsel, they are expected to ensure that the information related to the risks has been communicated to the board, and across different functional areas within the organization. However, it is necessary to ensure that the risk reports are cohesive and tell the right story.
- Role of assurance executive
With the regulatory responses and the technological advancements leading to the expansion of the functions of internal assurance, the duties of the in house legal services also changes such as playing the role of the compliance officer and the corporate secretary. However, it is likely to go through further expansion and include information governance as the latest role. There is no doubt that the lack of coordination in the assurance functions can lower the role of decision making and fail to create a proper picture of the risks in the corporate world. The seniority and the experience of the general counsel make the legal professional serve the role of the assurance executive of the company.
- Acting as a corporate executive
The valuable perspectives, insights, and the skills of the in house counsel are of great help in the corporate world. Due to a proper understanding of laws and regulations governing the markets, the bright skills of negotiations, and the real insight about the value chain of the industry, the role of the general counsel is crucial when viewed in terms of decision making and planning the strategies. Today, the role of the council is not restricted to defining the legal parameters in lieu of the business strategies, but they also need to figure out the legal and strategic challenges the company faces related to its reputation. Furthermore, the individual must also understand the emerging expectations of the corporate stakeholder and provide the risk-related information to the executives and frameworks to strengthen the business decisions.
- Heading the legal department
Even though the in house legal executive plays multiple roles today, the professionals in the legal team must stick to their traditional role. However, when it comes to making the legal department digitally active, it is necessary to access new legal judgments with the emerging needs of the business and incorporate those judgments effectively into the art of decision making. To make the legal department digitally efficient, the in-house counsel must also define and clarify the role of the stakeholders and reduce the complexities involved in the operations. Furthermore, the legal team must also build the potential of responding rapidly to the experiments carried out in the business. In addition to this, the general counsel is also expected to encourage digital skill development for acquiring the necessary expertise and suitable information governance to maximize the value of data within the company.
The final word
Finally, the general counsel needs to analyze various options such as the roles that add more value to the business, find better ways to delegate the roles, check whether the corporate strategy lacks the necessary approach or whether the board has the information and skills and to fulfill the duties all of which can play a big role in determining the success of the organization.