Since stepping into my new role as editor-in-chief of InsideCounsel in August, I have gained a genuine appreciation for the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for those working in the legal industry. One of my first interviews as EIC of this magazine was with Sara Moss, general counsel of The Estée Lauder Companies. One of the key takeaways from my conversation with Sara is how the regulatory landscape is impacting the role of the GC, in both public companies and private organizations. To some extent, every public company has similarities, one of which is dealing with the complexities of federal regulations.
The role of the GC is evolving from being viewed as a necessary evil to a mission-critical part of the business. During her tenure with Estée Lauder, Sara’s areas of expertise have grown dramatically (see “Foundation for Success,” page 46) as she navigates regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations in a way that supports performance objectives, sustains value and protects the brand. During her 30-year career in the legal industry, Sara has taken risks that ultimately led to her dream job. Sara’s impressive story is just one among a rising number of tales of women who are advancing in the legal profession.
On the subject of taking risks, a recent KPMG study reveals that more than 90 percent of GCs said regulatory volume and complexity pose the greatest risk to their organizations. This month’s cover story underscores the notion there is no one-size-fits-all approach to legal and regulatory compliance and that the best compliance programs are measured by their ability to facilitate change and action (see “Running the Risk,”). In fact, a recent Deloitte study shows that compliance risk will increase while headcount to manage that risk will remain flat.
As such, law departments—like other areas of business—have been challenged to do more with less and continue to take a cautious approach to in-house hiring since the economic crisis of 2008. Although there are signs of recovery in this area, many companies are taking a creative approach to staffing (see “Cautious Optimism”).
In this vein, InsideCounsel is taking a new approach to the business insights we strive to offer readers each month and each day on our website, www.insidecounsel.com. While I won’t give away too much, I believe you will be very pleasantly surprised not only with the new look we will launch next month, but also the new faces you will see on these pages. InsideCounsel will provide you, our reader, with unprecedented access to the thought leaders on the forefront of the most pressing issues in the industry today and offer critical insights into how the role of the GC is evolving and what boards of directors need to focus on.
That said, the magazine you will see next month represents a true labor of love. We are excited to bring it to you and look forward to hearing your feedback. We also hope that, in the months and years to come you will look to InsideCounsel as trusted source of thought leadership and business intelligence on the issues that matter most to you.