Client Centricity & the In-House Lawyer
Kari Loeser, Senior Counsel, Jazz Pharmaceuticals , USA
The practice of law has evolved, particularly given the advent of significant technological advances, enhancements, and the evolving nature of the business world. Twenty years ago, first year law students’ core curriculum involved legal writing and legal research, which was, in essence, how to use the law library to find cases, statutes, and law review articles in their corresponding shelved book and then “Sheperdize” the legal authorities to confirm case precedent and validity. Twenty to thirty years ago, major corporations and companies relied on outside counsel and law firms for their legal advice -- and did not have in-house attorneys beyond the General Counsel role. The change was an increasing awareness and recognition of the intrinsic value of in-house lawyers: here are legal experts that become embedded within the many facets and dimensions of the business, and, who can serve as a gatekeeper for the myriad of legal, ethical, and financial rules and obligations of the company.
In-house lawyers serve an important role in advising and leading their client, “the company”. For instance, when an in-house attorney is involved in litigation or conducting an internal investigation, it is both ethically and professionally necessary to give the Upjohn warning -- clearly identifying the communications between the company counsel and employees as privileged – but that privilege belongs to the company as client, not the individual employees.
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