S. Exploring the Role of the General Counsel

Course Information

Course Number
Curriculum Level
Areas of Study
Commercial Law and Transactions, Corporate Law and Transactions, Legal Profession and Professional Responsibility
Additional Attributes
Experiential Credit

Section 001 Information


Section Description

The trend today is for the General Counsel and the in-house legal team to take on a broader role by becoming increasingly involved in managing different kinds of risks while also contributing to the business strategy. Being an effective General Counsel and working in-house requires good judgment, leadership skills, and the ability to handle various, and often times, trying legal and commercial issues that can surface at any moment in the day. This course will allow you to imagine yourself in the role of an attorney reporting to the General Counsel as you explore a broad range of matters and learn to act decisively and quickly with often limited facts.

In this course, we will simulate real life situations that arise in Corporate America. You will be a member of the legal department of a ground-breaking technology company as it successfully grows from a VC-funded enterprise and ultimately decides whether to IPO. This class will focus on practical simulations based on, or largely derived from, actual legal matters that current corporate legal departments are experiencing today. For example, you will meet with outside counsel firms and participate in a mock pitch session to experience how the General Counsel and its team selects outside counsel. You will also learn from other General Counsel about how they run their legal departments and develop legal solutions to the business challenges that arise. In each class, we will explore another dimension of the role of the General Counsel and stimulate thinking of what it is like to work in a fast-moving legal corporate department.

Additional Experiential Credit: Subject to the professor’s permission and availability of an appropriate placement, seminar students will have the option to register for additional experiential credit for field work at a general counsel's office. Students taking this option will meet regularly with the Director of Externships to reflect on their fieldwork experience and will earn 2 additional credits for 10 hours of work at the placement, 3 credits for 15 hours of work at the placement. The professor or Director of Externships will identify some appropriate placements and students are welcome to suggest additional placements. All placements must be approved by the Director of Externships.

Instructor will select students from waitlist.

School Year & Semester
Fall 2021
JGH 502
Class meets on
  • Monday
6:20 pm - 8:10 pm
Method of Evaluation
J.D Writing Credit?

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in combining practical business sense with legal knowledge to achieve commercial objectives
  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in lawyering skills, for example, working collaboratively, legal writing and drafting, negotiation, client communication, and case theory and planning
  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in ethical and professional issues

Course Limitations

Instructor Pre-requisites
Instructor Co-Requisites
Recommended Courses
Other Limitations