picture frontcover General Counsel Book 21st Century

Wolf Peter Gross and Chris Vaagt are the editors of this exciting new Book on the Challenges and Opportunities of the General Counsel in the 21st Century. They have got contributions from leading individuals who have acted both as Counsel and as lawyers, and have a thourough understanding of the evolving role. Based on our understanding of the changes we witness every day on our consulting work for General Counsels, we thought about collecting all the pieces and have refreshing look at this development.

The Book is on the market since October 2015 and can be purchased here!

General Counsel in the 21st Century: challenges and Opportunities

By Christoph H. Vaagt und Wolf Peter Gross

The function of the general counsel, or in larger terms, the legal inhouse department, has undergone quite a remarkable change in recent years. Law as such is being understood as a valuable resource and not just as a limit on commercial activities by businesses around the world. Hence, the way the legal function is managed is under scrutiny by the world of management. This impacts also on the role of the outside counsel, who must not only keep pace with the development, but make sure that his service offering, way of interacting with his customer and understanding of the business needs is in line with the need of the legal department.

This unique new handbook, produced in association with the International Bar Association, includes chapters by leading experts on the key topics of the agenda of each general counsel in tomorrow’s world. First, if companies want to stay competitive, they must take a closer look at the basic strategy the legal department is adopting, as Professor Robert Bird argues. Their legal strategies must be ‘astute’ to minimise risk and create value, attain core business objectives, identify and resolve legal issues and effectively handle disputes, as described by Professor Constance E Bagley of Yale. In the context of the data driven business models of the digital revolution, Dennis Grabherr demonstrates to which degree the legal department must be not only aware of the challenges around data handling, but interact in a much more robust way with the IT department in order to ensure compliance.

Basic assumptions about to which degree the in-house lawyer role needs to be reviewed as a consequence of these developments as outlined  by Leigh Dance, adviser to top level in-house counsel. The role of the legal department, and the skills required to fill that role, are becoming more “management-like” than before as explained by Christian Rau.

The book has been compiled in view of these changes and in order to look to the future. The reader, whether in-house counsel, or lawyer from private practice, will learn new and perhaps surprising information about the drivers for change in the traditional world of the business of law.  

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