Thursday, May 8, 2014

Part 2 in the series on learning the legal skills necessary to succeed as in-house counsel

The blog Corporate Counsel (via The National Law Journal) is running a five part series on learning the legal skills needed to succeed as an in-house attorney.  The author, James Dinnage, says that the inspiration for the series comes from a course he teaches as an adjunct professor at Widener Law School's Delaware campus.  Find Part 1 of the series here and you can click here to read Part 2 which focuses on teaching students about the role in-house attorneys play as compliance advisors.  A short excerpt:

Teaching In-house Lawyers to Deal with Compliance


The first two units after the introductory class addressed the role of in-house counsel in the compliance area. I decided to assume that the sort of company I would be using as a model here was of a sufficient size that it would have at least a compliance officer. Thus the in-house lawyer would be providing legal support to that function but not have responsibility for the function itself. During the first briefing session I gave the class a background lecture on the concept of a compliance function, including a description of the 7+ elements of a compliance program—policy, high-level responsibility, care in delegation, training, audit, investigation, enforcement and continuous improvement—and discussed how the lawyer might be involved in these elements. I then moved on to provide a background to antitrust/competition law, on the (correct) supposition that none of the students had ever taken an antitrust course.


The assignments for this unit were to watch various clips from a training video that DuPont allowed me to use. Each of the three groups into which the students were split had to come up with a short presentation of the issues highlighted in these clips. This sounds rather elementary, perhaps, but I wasn’t sure how much of the law they would really absorb from one online lecture.


Each of the clips was shown in the following class, and the students seemed to have no difficulty picking up the relevant points. It was what followed that made this exercise much more stimulating for everyone, including me: I took on the role of the business audience, and as business people are wont to do, I started questioning the presenters.


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Continue reading here.


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