We live in a world of legal and business challenges that are significant and complex. A scandal or whistleblower can destroy, almost overnight, not only the long-held reputation of a company, but also the in-house counsel who work for it. Every day, we are inundated with more e-mail and information than our brains can possibly hold and yet, if we failed to focus on what in retrospect was truly important, we risk charges of negligence--or worse. As we continue to question whether the personal liability risk is worth it, it's important we don't lose sight of how privileged we are to be in a position to add strategic value to our companies, as well as our profession.
To be successful with our clients, we must differentiate ourselves through superior performance, which requires us to determine rules of success for our role and follow them with diligence and passion. We cannot be satisfied with putting out fires better than others or doing incredible work on contracts, litigation or acquisitions. We must do more. We need to teach employees how to be compliant and equip them with do's and don'ts so they don't run afoul of the law. We need to be our clients' eyes and ears regarding legal trends, risks and opportunities. We must proactively find appropriate ways for our clients to achieve their objectives. As in-house lawyers, we must ensure our work is top-quality and cost-efficient, which requires us to relentlessly oversee outside counsel and budgets. We must be visible role models for integrity and values.
Despite the challenges, if we focus on our rules of success and goals, we will provide great value to our companies and our profession--and receive as much, if not more, in return.