A bit ago here in New York a dinner was held with the legendary Ben Heineman (GE SVP/GC from 1987 to 2003, Harvard BA and Yale JD [editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal], Rhodes scholar, Potter Stewart clerk) and 50 or so GC’s or senior inhouse counsel from Fortune 500’s.

I wasn’t there, more’s the pity, but what follows is from an impeccable source.

As you can imagine, much of the conversation focused on the GC/law firm relationship. I won’t saddle you with more stress than your day may already hold, but I was told the level of hostility towards outside firms was palpable.

That’s not why I’m writing.

I’m writing to urge you to have spine and backbone when you counsel your clients. Yes, even if it’s an unnatural act to deliver bad news. Particularly if that’s the case.

Why should I need to point that out? Isn’t that your job and much more than your job—your solemn professional obligation? I would have imagined and so, I hope, would many of you, Dear Readers, assume that to be the case. The sun rises in the east, we breathe oxygen, etc., and we advise our clients with the “punctilio of an honor the most sensitive.” (Go ahead, read the whole thing: Meinhard v Salmon, 164 N.E. 545 (N.Y. 1928) (Cardozo, J.))

It gives me no pleasure to continue, but the story I’m about to relate concerns a Fortune 10 corporation and at least three different n AmLaw 15 firms.

Related Articles

Email Delivery

Get Our Latest Articles Delivered to your inbox +

Sign-up for email

Be the first to learn of Adam Smith, Esq. invitation-only events, surveys, and reports.

Get Our Latest Articles Delivered to Your Inbox

Like having coffee with Adam Smith, Esq. in the morning (coffee not included).

Oops, we need this information
Oops, we need this information
Oops, we need this information

Thanks and a hearty virtual handshake from the team at Adam Smith, Esq.; we’re glad you opted to hear from us.

What you can expect from us:

  • an email whenever we publish a new article;
  • respect and affection for our loyal readers. This means we’ll exercise the strictest discretion with your contact info; we will never release it outside our firm under any circumstances, not for love and not for money. And we ourselves will email you about a new article and only about a new article.

Welcome onboard! If you like what you read, tell your friends, and if you don’t, tell us.

PS: You know where to find us so we invite you to make this a two-way conversation; if you have an idea or suggestion for something you’d like us to discuss, drop it in our inbox. No promises that we’ll write about it, but we will faithfully promise to read your thoughts carefully.