In-house counsel are being upended by the Coronavirus, which is not surprising as the same thing is happening to nearly everyone. For in-house counsel, the old normal is going through a sea change on its way to whatever becomes the New Normal for legal counsel of all stripes. In-house counsel play a vital role in risk management for organizations and, in times like this, it is all hands on deck. It’s no longer what skills do you need in 10 years, it is what skills do you need for tomorrow. One thing is clear – those in-house counsel who help steer their organizations to safe waters will be worth their weight in gold – and will be much wiser for the experience.
“In-house lawyers are dusting off crisis management plans and reading contracts with a different eye as they try to guide U.S. business leaders through all the uncertainty caused by the novel coronavirus.“Their CEOs are really depending on them, not just from a legal standpoint, but from a business leadership standpoint,” said Sonya Olds Som, a former Big Law immigration attorney who is now a partner at executive search and consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles International Ltd. “It’s great crisis management experience and a chance to show real leadership and value. The challenges are acute in the most disrupted industries such as health care, higher education, hospitality, and transportation, many of which are now seeking billions in federal government aid.”