General Counsel Value Pyramid
The Value Pyramid was devised by UK law firm Nabarro in two reports focusing on GCs entitled
General Counsel: vague about value? and From in-house lawyer to business counsel.
From our perspective, the ACC Value Challenge in Europe must overlay onto this pyramid
the objective and perceived value of containing costs, since it is such a high priority for corporate
counsel in Europe and around the world (as outlined in Chapter 2).
The most sophisticated areas of the ACC Value Challenge come at the higher levels of
this pyramid applying process management, project management and knowledge management
to complex problem solving, negotiating significant deals and contracts, managing crises, and
influencing the board. That is the focus of this chapter.
“If I were a general counsel today, I would align my resources to the risk profile of my corporation.
Assuming I have a limited budget, I would invest according to the major legal risks the organization
faces, by topic and geography. Most listed companies’ boards are required to assess risks formally—the
GC must be in a position to report how he/she is supporting mitigation of those risks.
If I know that I have a $10 million budget, I will look at those risks and allocate my resources in the
best possible way, negotiating the best price at each step. Every year, a certain percent of outside spend
is preventing (training, auditing compliance, contracts, standard clauses) and those are predictable
expenses. Some transactions and accidents or surprises are unpredictable, so money needs to be aside to
- Former General Counsel, Europe 500 company