Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Keywords

scandals, corporate lawyers, general counsel, crisis management, risk management, reputation, misconduct

Abstract

This Essay examines the roles of a general counsel, as the corporation’s chief legal officer, in responding to scandals when they happen and in developing and enforcing internal preventive practices prior to the occurrence of any particular scandal. The Essay differentiates between scandals and crises more generally, emphasizing the integral connection between scandal and jeopardy to reputation and tracing the interrelationships between a corporation’s reputation and that of its general counsel. The Essay argues that risks associated with scandal may strengthen general counsel’s power within the senior management team, in particular in general counsel’s relationship with the corporation’s CEO. Although general counsel’s position as a member of the senior management team may imperil counsel’s ability to bring detached judgment to bear, counsel’s position within the corporation is a critical component of effectiveness in anticipating and addressing scandals.