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Leadership in Corporate Counsel - Harvard Law School Executive Education
Jun 2—5, 2020
4 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 12500
USD 3125 per day

How it works


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General counsel of leading organizations encounter challenges unlike those faced by law firm or other external-client facing, professional service firm leaders. They negotiate the treacherous currents between providing high quality service to corporate leaders and maintaining the independence of their perspective and advice. Corporate legal departments are also the fastest growing segment of the legal profession, requiring general counsel to build the sophisticated leadership skills necessary to manage such growth. Our Leadership in Corporate Counsel program offers in-house leaders insights into the challenges they face and the frameworks, concepts and tools they need to succeed in their increasingly complicated roles.


By studying a cross-section of professional service organizations, including corporate counsel offices and law firms, participants of LCC learn the unique challenges of leading these organizations and develop perspectives and skills to be effective leaders.

The program focuses on leadership as corporate counsel. Participants will learn about and discuss:

  • The need for balancing their professional responsibilities as lawyers and leadership responsibilities in their corporations
  • The power of alignment among corporate strategy, functional strategy, organization of the corporate counsel office, and the professionals that constitute legal departments
  • Drivers of superior quality of service to internal clients
  • The motivation drivers of professionals
  • The importance of hiring the right professionals and developing them effectively in an internal service context
  • Incentive systems, including promotion and compensation
  • Leading change
  • Understanding leadership styles

Participants will develop a holistic understanding of the challenges facing, and the skills and perspectives required of, effective Corporate Counsel leaders.


*The Learning Model *

Case studies, lectures, classroom discussions, and small group discussions focused on professional service organizations afford participants the opportunity to deliberate on the determinants of sustained superior performance.

Case studies on professional service organizations give participants exposure to real-world issues and help them work through possible approaches and solutions to the problems that leaders of professional service organizations confront. Participants practice making decisions about challenging real-life management problems in professional service settings.


The course structure is designed to sharpen the leadership skills of the lawyers who lead corporate counsel offices by exploring topics such as alignment between corporate and functional strategy, drivers of superior service, the challenge of internal service provision, motivation of professionals, compensation, nurturing an inclusive work environment, leading change, and effective leadership.

The program offers participants perspective, concepts, management tools, and skills that will help them be more effective as leaders of corporate legal departments.

Who should attend

Participants include leaders in corporate counsel offices who currently have, or are going to assume, the role of General Counsel or Chief Legal Officer in their corporations. Essentially, they will have teams of professionals—in particular specialties, sub-functions, practice areas, geographies, divisions, or the entire corporation—reporting to them. To ensure a collegial, small group setting, class size is limited. We encourage a broad cross-section of participants across geographies and industries.


Visiting Professor of Business Administration John Coates is the John F. Cogan, Jr. Professor of Law and Economics at Harvard Law School, and Research Director of the Program on the Legal Profession. Before joining Harvard, he was a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, specializing in ...
Scott Westfahl is the Faculty Director of HLS Executive Education and also teaches courses on problem solving, teams, networks and innovation within the law school’s J.D. curriculum. As the Faculty Director of the Executive Education program, he leads the HLS effort to support and develop lawyers...
Professor Wilkins is the Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, and Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession and the Center for Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry at Harvard Law School. He is also a Senior Research Fello...

Next dates

Jun 2—5, 2020
4 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 12500
USD 3125 per day

How it works

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