After 12 years running two divisions at Whirlpool Financial, and then as an executive at GE — and having been a business lawyer before that, and thereafter — I have reached this conclusion:
Protecting the business from legal risk should be entrusted mainly to management — with attorneys accountable to the CFO, COO, or some other P&L executive in a supporting role.
This goes against the legal profession’s prevailing outlook; and corporate practice has long conformed to that outlook:
“Management of legal risk is a job for lawyers”.
But that outlook fails to prevent legal problems; and it leads to ever-increasing legal spending.