Now, attorneys are notorious for thinking they matter, a lot. But Ethisphere.com has tried to employ some criteria to determine which in-house attorneys represent the creme-de-la-creme of corporate counsel. The list spans all practice areas and includes federal agencies. And, in the nouveau trend of social entrepreneurship, the list also takes into consideration top-notch public service, legal community engagement, and academic involvement.
Curious? We thought so.
You can check out the entire list on the Ethisphere website. But what we found as interesting as reading the names of the distinguished, was checking out a Q&A of a few of the enlisted on how they got to the top of their game.
Take for example, Rich Baer--Executive VP, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Qwest, and the winner of the "Top General Counsel" award--who became a lawyer though he wanted to be a cop because "[his] mother thought being a lawyer was safer." Baer's advice to other companies is to establish a sound tone at the top and constantly inculcate that tone to the rest of the company.
From Wendy Hallgren's vantage point as VP, Corporate Compliance at Fluor and Ethisphere pick as "Top Compliance Officer", since the time she started at Fluor in 2002, post-Sarbanes-Oxley, she has noticed a trend towards "a general recognition that behaving ethically is good for business." She sees that trajectory of ethics and compliance extend to the future and "anticipate[s] developments with compliance and ethics becoming a more integral part of sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives and reporting."
One of Ethisphere's named "Rising Stars" is Matthew Levine of Fish & Richardson P.C. He had an interesting take on trends in compliance. For him, an important lesson was "to keep the pressure to develop a specialty in perspective" because though lawyers specialized in areas of compliance are held highly in the industry, he has learned that, "opportunities to help clients in unanticipated ways can come from maintaining a broad range of experience."
Check out the Ethisphere site to learn more about the criteria and those selected...and who knows, we could be blogging about you next time around.
- Attorneys Who Matter (Ethisphere.com)