To make good policy—or prevent bad policy—know your company’s goals

Corporate culture and the overall regulatory climate can help guide the formation of these goals

This is the third article in a six-part series on in-house counsel lobbying for policy change. Read the first two installments here and here.

Before he became Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Jon Leibowitz served as one of the agency’s commissioners. I had the good fortune to meet with him and his incredible staff attorneys from time to time, mostly to advocate for policies that would benefit intellectual property holders. The first several times we met, he ended the meeting by asking, “Christine, why are you doing this? What’s in this for you?” And, I would always answer, “Nothing, I’m just doing this because it’s the right thing to do.”

If your company is entirely focused on profit and bottom line, and many are, there may be no appetite for corporate counsel’s involvement in shaping policy at all. Keeping an eye on industry developments and following the leadership of others in the industry may be a perfectly adequate approach in such a case.

Alternatively, in non-profit, philanthropic, scientific or heavily regulated industries, where policy, and more specifically, legislation, can make or break an entity, the goal may include both making good policy and preventing bad policy. Again, the positioning depends entirely on context and strategy, two topics I have discussed in other articles in this series.

Contributing Author

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Christine Jones

As Go Daddy’s first in-house lawyer, Christine Jones built the legal department from the ground up. In her more than ten years there, Ms....

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