Our New Year's Resolution Helping Corporate Counsel Achieve Long-Range Goals

Saturday, January 1, 2005 - 01:00

Al Driver
The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel is a public service publication that enlists the editorial and financial support of law firms and legal service providers to fill the information needs of corporate counsel. Furthermore, their support makes it possible for us to advance the long-range policy goals of corporate counsel and their corporate clients.

From the standpoint of the organizations that support it, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel represents a way that these organizations can serve the interests of their existing corporate clients by influencing a large number of other corporate counsel to support the commonly held goals set forth below. Not only does The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel serve as another way law firms can partner with existing clients, but also, by forwarding policy goals shared by most corporate counsel, benefits a wide national audience of corporate counsel. Thus, those organizations supporting The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel add a new dimension to the concept of "partnering."

Listed below are some of the important policy areas that we cover on an ongoing basis and how our emphasis on these issues contributes to the long-term objectives of your corporate clients:

Compliance Readiness and Corporate Governance: Failure to have adequate compliance and governance programs in place may trigger compliance and governance failures that could result in civil and criminal penalties and plunge the corporation into a major reputational crisis. It is in the best interest of all corporations to promote compliance and good governance by corporations generally. Bad examples can trigger over-regulation that will adversely affect all corporations.

Litigation Costs: Corporations need to reduce their exposure to high legal costs and bet-the-company cases. Civil justice reform can be best obtained by joint action of many corporations.

Diversity: The stakeholders of corporations are becoming more diverse and, if corporations do not adapt to this reality, they will be damaged; for example, if consumers perceive that a corporation is not diverse, they may cease to buy its products. To the extent that most corporations practice diversity, all corporations benefit.

Pro Bono And Ethical Values: Every corporation could be subject to a reputational crisis. If the corporation has a history of supporting community welfare projects (including pro bono) and of maintaining high ethical values, it will build a reservoir of good will that can be helpful in mitigating the crisis. To the extent that a greater number of corporations support community welfare activities and ethical values, all corporations benefit from the more positive public attitude that results.

Globalization: Foreign corporations are guests in the host countries. To continue to be welcomed and be treated fairly under local law, they must be perceived as being seriously dedicated to the best interests of the host country and its citizens. Bad apples can affect the welcome accorded to those companies that are good citizens. Therefore it is important for companies to take action that will encourage all foreign companies to be good citizens of host countries.

The Rule Of Law Worldwide: Corporations can expand their investment opportunities and open up new markets by advocating the adoption of the rule of law worldwide, which is particularly necessary to progress in developing countries. In this way all companies will benefit from the assurance that promises will be kept and corruption minimized.

Each law firm that joins our effort enhances our ability to do a better job in supporting the CLE and policy objectives of corporate counsel. This month we are delighted to welcome King & Spalding LLP as a Supporting Firm. It is an international law firm, founded in 1885, with more than 800 lawyers in Atlanta, Houston, London, New York and Washington, DC. The firm's worldwide practice represents more than half of the Fortune 100 and, in a Corporate Counsel survey in October 2004, it was ranked one of the top ten firms representing Fortune 250 companies overall. Central to King & Spalding's success as a full-service law firm is its ability to build broad, lasting relationships with its clients, deliver value and provide outstanding legal advice.