Duhaime's Law Dictionary

General Counsel Definition:

The senior lawyer of a corporation.

The senior lawyer of a corporation.

This is normally a full-time employee of the corporation although some corporations contract this position out to a lawyer with a private firm.

Most large companies have a team of in-house staff lawyers headed by a general counsel. This department, reporting to their board of directors, manages all legal services such as real property transactions, mergers and acquisitions, contracts and litigation although the latter is usually contracted-out to private law firms retained near the Court where the claim has been filed.

For example, the website bio of the 2007 general counsel for Microsoft Corporation reads as follows:

"X is ... deputy general counsel for litigation in Microsoft Corp.'s Law and Corporate Affairs Department. He manages all of the company's U.S. litigation issues, coordinates international cases and directs the work of outside law firms retained by Microsoft to represent it in lawsuits. X has built a strong internal Litigation Group, participated in negotiating a settlement of antitrust litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice, led the successful defense against additional antitrust remedies proposed by nine U.S. states, and represented Microsoft in a number of patent cases."

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