THE INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT ROLES OF IN-HOUSE LAWYERS.
Recently the media was awash with stories of legal issues stemming from Facebook and the illegitimate assault on data privacy of millions of users and how Russian hackers manipulated data in trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections. The breach, media circus, and consequent investigations by the authorities has however brought to fore the importance of having in-house lawyers. According to Bloomberg Politics, in as much as Facebook is building up its legal arsenal with a cadre of big law firms. Facebook is also looking at employing more in-house lawyers at the associate general counsel level.
An “in-house lawyer” is a lawyer employed within an organization in order to handle day to day legal issues as they may arise on behalf of such organization. These set of lawyers are not involved in the usual advocacy in court but are more active in devising corporate business strategy and handling routine legal matters that may arise in the business dealings of the Company. In recognition of the important roles of in house lawyers, the ACC(Association of Corporate Counsel) Chief Legal Officers 2018 survey revealed that executive management “almost always seeks” the input of its in-house counsel on business decisions. And 81% of the time, in-house counsel regularly attend board meetings.
Some of the benefits of having in-House Legal Counsel include:
- Collaboration with in-house lawyers by the company ensures success and productivity;
- Reduces Cost;
- Effective and prompt management of all legal risks;
- Promotion of best corporate governance practice within the organization;
- Enables an organization get direct legal advice in the conduct of its day to day activities, especially as it relates to compliance with regulatory requirements.
It is in recognition of these benefits and more, that most corporate entities insist on having in-house company Secretary/Legal Adviser to head the legal department and handle all internal legal issues for the company.
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