General counsel must become global change agents

General counsel must adapt their roles to a globalized world for success

With the onset of international business growth, the power of the Web and access to information anywhere, the boundaries of the world are falling away. Geography and social boundaries are moving from being primary inhibitors to business to becoming secondary circumstances calling to be overcome. With globalization comes change. Those who embrace the change will embrace the future and those who do not will be left behind in the limitations of a world fighting against change. Change happens no matter what.

Globalization also brings about a higher level of thinking and strategizing which will allow businesses to evolve in new ways. They will be teaching people “how to think” rather than “what to think.” They will also create structures that empower people to be leaders within their own lives and the thinking modalities, tools and environments to create that culture.

As of late, globalization is putting pressure on corporate legal departments to alter their practices and act as global change agents. This calls for a shift in perspective, processes and the adoption of tools to facilitate operating in a way that facilitates the global enterprise.

According to a recent report, "General Counsel: The Global Corporations’ Next Agent of Change," produced by Mitratech, with power shifting from outside counsel to the general counsel, GCs are now well positioned to lead their teams to refine their global operations and truly become best-run departments within the organization.

“For AIG, rolling out legal tools and processes on a global scale is a massive change management program,” said Stacy Coote, AIG’s director of legal operations in EMEA and APAC, in a statement,

According to Sonya Bland, director of Technology Solutions for HP’s Global Legal Department, one area which created an impetus for change was that little global matter information was being tracked in their systems outside the U.S., especially when budgeting for litigation.

“By planning for and rolling out a global budgeting process, records of every matter, budget and invoice are stored within the centralized TeamConect system, which now affords HP the luxury of pin pointing exactly where their global legal budget exists,” Bland commented. “The combination of currency, tax and processing of non-U.S. invoices, the ability to collect and process invoices submitted in a non-U.S. currency, as well as displaying the invoices in a preferred currency for review and tracking processes, will very likely be an important requirement for success.”

 

For more on globalization and law, check out these articles:

Intellectual property in the Global Enterprise

The effects of cultural differences and data privacy regulations on cross-border litigation

Globalization, talent crunch among trends affecting the legal profession  

Hollywood wants international treaty to toughen copyright laws

Contributing Author

Amanda Ciccatelli

Amanda G. Ciccatelli is a Contributing Writer for InsideCounsel, where she covers the patent litigation space. Amanda earned a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from...

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