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The Role of Corporate Counsel Under the Business Roundtable's New Purpose

October 2019 -
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It is no secret that corporate counsel wear many hats. Their daily duties often include a foray into financial, business development and compliance matters, making them uniquely dressed to advise on matters beyond technical legal issues.

Now more than ever, this fluid role is essential. Thanks to the Business Roundtable, the purpose of corporations is expanding, and it is only natural that boards and officers will turn to the versatile corporate counsel for guidance.

For 40 years, the Business Roundtable believed, like most, that corporations should exist to return profits to their shareholders; however, earlier this year, the nearly 200 blue-ribbon executives that make up the Business Roundtable collectively changed their tune.

Instead of merely appeasing shareholders, CEOs of the Business Roundtable now believe that corporations should exist to serve all stakeholders in the free-market system. In addition to churning profit, corporations should generate good jobs; help maintain a sustainable and robust economy; and encourage innovation, a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all.

As acceptance of stakeholder corporate governance grows, boards and executives will likely seek the advice of corporate counsel. In particular, there are three ways that corporate counsel may encounter stakeholder-focused initiatives. Discussed in this article are suggestions to help corporate counsel prepare and tailor their response to leadership on this issue.

Read the article here.

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