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In 2014, new General Counsel were in place in 10% of large organizations, according to BTI Consulting Group. Circumstances may vary, but your organization may bring on a new general counsel as a result of the former GC retiring, as part of a merger/acquisition, or a law department shake up.
Whatever the reason, there's someone new in charge.
That got us thinking -- how do attorneys in the legal department deal with a new general counsel? Nothing could jolt a law department more than a new leader, especially when the former GC left a strong foot print. So, for those of you working with a new GC we see three options.
Perhaps the former GC was your mentor, or had a style diametrically opposed to the new GC. What do you do? For some, the first inclination will be flight. Maybe you don't like change, or maybe you don't want to start from scratch building a new working relationship with the GC. For some, a change in scenery might be the way to go. Call your headhunter, but don't make any quick changes without having a Plan B in place.
Hide Go With the Flow
We get it, some of you are there for the paycheck, and don't really care who is calling the shots. You go in, you get your work done, and you don't want to be bothered with personalities or advancing your career. Some of you will just want to keep your head down and keep working. So long as you keep the quality of your work up, and go along with any changes the new GC may have in store, you can probably just keep coasting.
Having a new GC is like having the slate wiped clean -- you see that as a positive, rather than a negative. You can build a new working relationship with your GC, and in turn help implement change in the legal department. The GC will need feedback from attorneys to learn about the department, and you can help the new GC get acclimated to the company by helping smooth the transition by being helpful, and available.
It's easy to get stuck in a rut, and get comfortable with people, but career growth will only happen by stepping outside of your comfort zone. Whether that means exploring new opportunities, or making the most of existing one, will depend on your situation and goals. Having to report to a new GC is a great time to think about those issues.
How did you handle dealing with a new GC? Let us know on Facebook on our FindLaw for Legal Professionals page.