October 2009 Archives
Letting go is hard to do. And in an economy like the current one, layoffs have become a necessary evil--and even norm--for some companies. Being the recipient of bad news can be devastating, but being the messenger carries its own exacting toll. Companies are turning to in-house counsel to guide their executive and HR teams on how to conduct workforce reductions judiciously, expeditiously...and in accordance with state and federal law.
Read below on tips of how your legal department can effectively guide the company with workforce reduction and how to take preemptive steps to limit liability in the process.
The question of how many attorneys is the right number is not only age-old in corporate counsel circles but has proven to be a hot topic of debate. Too few and in-house counsel becomes heavily dependent on outside counsel for big and small matters. Too many attorneys on a legal team and it may compromise efficiencies for the company's bottom line and create the issue of too many cooks in the kitchen. In a time when economic factors have drained company coffers and strained legal departments to do more with less, re-assessing a company's needs can prove to be vital. And can yield surprising results.
So, how should General Counsel and corporate executives evaluate their legal
needs and determine a "Goldilocks" strategy for tailoring a
legal department that's just the right size? Here are a few tips compiled from podcasts, articles,
blog posts, and online media (as listed in the "Related Resources"):
Unless you are finishing up a two-year corporate counsel stint at a remote company in rural Antarctica, you are probably pretty well-versed in the language of the recession that has taken hold of news headlines, board-room meetings, and dinner-table conversations. Scaling back, laying off, flat-fee billing, in-house eDiscovery ---these have been the recent buzz words in legal departments across nation.
Well, now there are a few numbers to back up the in-house recessionary fodder. Hildebrandt International has released its annual Hildebrandt Law Department Survey, which provides benchmarking data for U.S. and global law departments.
As the legal eyes and ears of a company, general counsel takes a front row seat in handling lawsuits and corporate legal matters. And while that role can make for high-profile recognition, it can also subject in-house attorneys to increased liability. Attorneys from Schiff Hardin released a white paper outlining strategies for general counsel to avoid personal liability. Below are salient take-aways from the publication.
In-house counsel, how can you avoid personal liability?