In the past 25 years, there has been a revolution in the legal profession. General Counsel and other inside lawyers have risen in quality, responsibility, power and status. Once second class citizens in corporations and the legal profession, they have become core members of top corporate management, equaling in importance the Chief Financial Officer and the finance function. They have dramatically shifted power from law firms to corporate law departments, assuming strategic direction over legal matters and exercising far greater control over law firm billing and economics.
Ben W. Heineman, Jr. has led that revolution in his nearly 20 years as the top lawyer at GE and then in teaching and writing as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Program on the Legal Profession and lecturer at Yale Law School. In this analytic and prescriptive book, he describes the essence of that transformation and the modern role of inside counsel: the key functions, relationships, issues, problems and dilemmas. Moreover, he argues for the role of inside counsel as lawyer-statesman, motivated not just by the desire for income but by broader values of integrity and corporate citizenship.
In this analytic and prescriptive book, he describes the essence of that transformation and the modern role of inside counsel in helping attain the corporate mission of high performance with high integrity: the key functions, relationships, issues, problems and dilemmas. He argues for the role of inside counsel as lawyer-statesman and as a partner of the CEO but also guardian of the corporation, motivated not just by the desire for income but by broader values of integrity and corporate citizenship.
The Inside Counsel Revolution is a succinct, concrete yet visionary statement of first principles from a highly regarded founder of the in-house revolution that fundamentally changed the legal profession and reframed the lawyer-statesman role in this era to serve the performance, integrity and risk goals of global capitalism.
Praise for Ben W. Heineman Jr. and The Inside Counsel Revolution
“This powerful book explains how the inside counsel revolution has helped shape the role of responsible global companies and has transformed the legal profession. How should the corporation where you are general counsel deal with the use in China of the ultra-sound equipment it manufactures to carry out sex-selection abortions aimed at favoring boys over girls? What's an in-house lawyer to do when her duty as guardian of the corporation conflicts with her role as the CEO's lawyer and partner? On these issues and everything else — from good citizenship, to managing the profit maximizing urges of outside law firms, to handling internal scandals, to managing risk, to dealing with laws and regulations that contradict each other once you cross a national border, to chiming in on appropriate executive compensation — Ben Heineman, Jr. has provided the ultimate analysis of how corporations can, and should, function in a complex legal environment here and around the globe. More than that, he offers a fascinating set of examples of how it’s done. Every board of directors should read this book — and make not just their lawyers but their executives, too, study it and take an oath to live it.”
--Steven J. Brill, Brill Journalism Enterprises
“Ben Heineman is responsible for? defining? the ?modern ? Office of the General Counsel. This is a must read for all in-house attorneys?--and for all outside lawyers who serve corporations.”
--Michael J. Holston, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Merck & Co.
“This is a must read for any director of a public company. Ben Heineman, legendary GE GC, makes a compelling case that the General Counsel is an essential partner for boards and business leaders on core issues of performance, integrity and risk. The stories of right and wrong will stay with you for years.”
--Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather
“Major international corporations have become quasi- public institutions impacting the thousands, if not millions, who are either employed by them, use their output, or are impacted by their functioning, worldwide. Inside legal counseling of their management requires a vast combination of talents: law, obviously, and sensitivity to public policy, governmental concerns, and most importantly, courage. Ben Heineman, the long-time leader of the inside counsel revolution, has that combination in abundance and brings to those attempting that counseling an aspirational model, and to the general reader, a fascinating glimpse of the tensions inherent in counseling the management of these unique institutions.”
--Ira M. Millstein, Senior Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges
“Based on his pioneering work in creating the modern corporate law department, lawyer-statesman-teacher Ben Heineman ably sets out the core rules that must guide lawyers of skill and integrity as they advise businesses striving to achieve sustainable strong long term performance. The challenges he faced and the lessons he learned provide an invaluable and practical vision for both inside lawyers and the external counsel who work with them.”
--John F. Olson, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
“Ben Heineman puts forth a vision of the modern General Counsel that is both aspirational and profoundly practical. Refreshingly candid about the challenges facing global companies today, The Inside Counsel Revolution shows why Heineman’s ‘lawyer-statesman’ General Counsel is an indispensable member of a winning leadership team. A must-read for CEOs and boards of companies seeking high performance with high integrity.”
--Lynn Sharpe Paine, John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
“Ben Heineman?, a renowned pioneer at GE, ? has written an extraordinary and definitive book on the role of the general counsel in companies today. It offers ?rich insights not only for those of us who ?serve in these positions, but for ?business people who must operate at the intersection of business, law, public policy, and corporate responsibility.”
--Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft Corporation
“No one understands better the critical role General Counsel play in assuring the success of global corporations than Ben Heineman, the former GC of GE. Expanding on his important and ground breaking work and writing, Heineman’s The Inside Counsel Revolution is deeply insightful--- rich with detailed analysis and penetrating vignettes based on real life crises. This is a must read for anyone, not just lawyers, who want a practical vision of how global corporations can thrive and avoid the reefs and shoals of today's treacherous legal environment.”
--Larry D. Thompson, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States and former Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Pepsico
“Ben Heineman’s extraordinary book, The Inside Counsel Revolution, is a ‘must read’ not only for inside corporate counsel at all levels but also for all corporate officers in the C-Suite and senior outside counsel who regularly interact on major matters with the corporate team. Why? Two primary reasons: First, it is a richly-textured and comprehensive chronicle of his remarkable first-hand experiences in high-level, real-world, and high-stakes settings. Second, it is chock full of wisdom, insightful analysis, and priceless advice for any lawyer sitting, or aspiring to sit, on the hot seat of the chief legal officer.”
-- E. Norman Veasey, former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court
“During and after his landmark tenure at GE, Ben Heineman became the leading voice articulating the highest aspirations for the general counsels that have followed in his footsteps. In this insightful and deeply practical book, he forcefully describes the tremendous potential that general counsels have to help their companies, the legal profession, and society as a whole achieve what he aptly refers to as ‘high performance with high integrity.’ His sustained and comprehensive analysis should be required reading for every academic, practitioner, and law student committed to making this ideal a reality.”
--David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law and Director, Center on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School
"The transformation of the corporate legal department from a “backwater” into a premiere destination for ambitious lawyers to learn and grow their careers, in many ways forms the nub of what Heineman calls the Inside Counsel Revolution..... Heineman’s book is not a memoir of his time inside GE or a history of the inside counsel movement. Rather, he offers a set of prescriptions for how GCs can maximize their role in a corporation. The book explicates the unique role that a general counsel can play to help a corporation meet its highest performance and maintain integrity. He draws on recent history to call out lawyers who have fallen down, or commend his colleagues who in his view have effected tough decisions.... in-house counsel bring a unique perspective and analysis that makes them a conscience [of the company], their views important and their role bigger than a bureaucratic function, he writes."
--Gabe Friedman, Bloomberg Big Law Business