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A recent survey of directors, board chairs and CEOs sheds new light on the role of general counsel in large corporations. The survey, conducted by the legal recruiting company Barker Gilmore and NYSE Governance Services, reached over 5,000 corporate leaders, though the response rate was not given.

It's filled with valuable insights into the minds of executive teams, who are increasingly looking at general counsel as a valuable part of corporate leadership. Here's some of the lessons in-house counsel can take away:

When it comes to CLE, options for in-house lawyers can be limited. Thankfully, the Association of Corporate Counsel, a bar association for in-house attorneys, has you covered when it comes to meeting your education requirements.

You're especially covered this May, when a slew of CLE trainings are offered. Here's a quick overview.

Successful people need inspiration, whether it's in the form of an encouraging mentor, a historical legal champion or just hilarious and well-written legal documents. In-house attorneys, or those aspiring to be one, can take motivation from the best GC's in the country. Here's a few that we think have careers worth emulating.

So, aside from being brilliant and hard working, how did some of the best general counsels in the world end up where they are today -- and what can you learn from them?

It's a common truism that a every lawyer should have a mentor. Having someone wiser and more experienced to bounce ideas off of, seek out professional advice, or model your advancement after can help make a career, or at least make one easier.

But for in-house counsel, finding a mentor can pose some unique challenges. You may be one of a few lawyers in your department, or you may be working in an isolated industry or location. But don't worry if you don't have senior partners to take you under their wings -- here are three ways to find a mentor while working in-house.

There are plenty of stories of lawyers leaving firm life. In fact, the attrition rates for associates are huge. That many lawyers will eventually move on is a given and it's no secret that many lawyers fleeing firm life would love to become in-house counsel or even GC's.

But, once the migration has been made, would a GC ever go back? Could she?

Compliance, compliance, compliance! Why does it seem like over half of the legal department's job is to make sure the corporation is dotting its I's and crossing its T's?

Because that is a large part of the legal department's job, especially in publicly traded companies where the shadow of the SEC looms like the background like Sauron. (OK, maybe not that menacingly.) Ebenezer Scrooge said he learned to have Christmas in his heart the whole year; that's the attitude GCs need when it comes to regulatory compliance.

What is "maturity"? In organizational management, it's the degree to which organizational processes are formalized and optimized, meaning they're documented, structured, and being performed as efficiently as possible. High levels of maturity ensure that resources are being spent on the right things, and not being wasted on inefficient processes, like a billing department without a workflow that still uses paper for everything.

Maturity models work especially well for the corporate legal department, where many discrete tasks can be automated and savings analyzed, writes Inside Counsel. And, if you've mastered the Zen of maturity, you can move on to using legal analytics to actually add value to the company.

Are employees in your company traveling abroad for work? Depending on how high up they are in the company, what industry you're in, and where they're going, robbery and kidnapping are genuine concerns. So, too, are natural disasters and diseases. Pretty much same as here, but with a different legal system to content with.

Don't worry, though; you can keep them safe! Here are four things in-house legal counsel should know about mitigating the risks to your employees traveling abroad.

It's March again, which means everyone's favorite illegal betting racket is about to start back up. March Madness, with its accompanying office pools, live-streamed games, and potential loss of office productivity, can pose particular problems for corporate counsel. First, betting is widespread, with more than 50 million people taking part in office pools, often in violation of state and federal law. Second, even those who are not betting on games may be watching them at work, leading to extra strain on a company's computer system and lost productivity.

Here are some tips for how best to deal with March Madness without losing your mind:

If there's one department that's the thorn in the side of company employees, it's the IT department. Their answer is always "no" and they make you wait on requests for a long time.

Of course, that's equally true of the legal department, too. With Sarbanes-Oxley being what it is, coupled with the dystopian e-discovery future in which we live, the IT department and the legal department should be best buddies. Whose photo do you have in your heart-shaped locket?