I’VE LEARNED A FE W THINGS COVERING THIS BEA T OVER THE
years. Early on, I read the management theory books a
lot of you have had to read and whose lessons you’ve
had to follow, and concluded that many of them were
either silly or obvious. I’ve learned how committed you
are to your companies, your charges and your communities. And most of all, I’ve learned how different you
are from most of your colleagues in private practice.
Let me explain.
You’re all lawyers, with all that the label means. You
went through law school, which for many can be grueling. You’re officers of the court, and you try to do pro
bono whenever you can, just like your big-firm counterparts who take time off from M&A work to represent
indigent clients. But there’s another set of skills you
must master. There’s corporate speak, for one thing—
you have to learn to communicate with your business
side colleagues, who, it has to be said, sometimes speak
in tongues as far as you’re concerned. (Guess what?
They often think the same of you.) You have to adopt
those management theories I made fun of up above. And
you don’t always have to adhere to the same rules that
private practice lawyers do.
You may be scratching your head here. But stay with
me. For example, are you a member of the bar in
every state and every country in which
your company does business? Is everyone in your department?
I didn’t think so. And that brings
me to this month’s cover story. Many
of you have spoken to our reporter
Stephanie Forshee about career matters. She’s become our ad hoc career
and work life reporter.
And she started to
notice that an increas-
ing number of gen-
eral counsel and their
lawyers don’t necessarily trudge into corporate head-
quarters every day. Modern technology makes work-
ing remotely easier, and the fact that corporate counsel
aren’t in court that often means that it’s not always nec-
essary to have face time with everyone they work with.
Just like their business-side colleagues. In any event,
the demands of the job have turned many of our read-
ers into champion air miles machines, traveling around
the globe to attend to the legal needs of multinational
businesses. So what’s the problem with working in the
home office? It’s just like another hotel room, only more
personal, with easy access to the refrigerator and the
Forshee looks at some corporate counsel who work
remotely and have made it work. Many are chief legal
officers, who manage to, well, manage from a distance.
We have some experience with it here at Corporate
Counsel. With our global newsroom, we have reporters
and editors spread around the country and at a few out-of-the-U.S. outposts. Our editors have managed to put
together whole magazine issues by checking layouts on
their iPhones and editing stories in the middle of the
night, New York time.
The one thing that seems crucial is to have a clear
eye on what you can do on the road or on the patio, and
when you absolutely need to connect face-to-face.
EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE