Leadership in Corporate Counsel

About the Program


PROGRAM DATES: June 2-5, 2020

PROGRAM FEE: $12,500


General counsel of leading organizations encounter challenges unlike those faced by law firm or other external-client facing, professional service firm leaders. They negotiate the treacherous currents between providing high quality service to corporate leaders and maintaining the independence of their perspective and advice. Corporate legal departments are also the fastest growing segment of the legal profession, requiring general counsel to build the sophisticated leadership skills necessary to manage such growth. Our Leadership in Corporate Counsel program offers in-house leaders insights into the challenges they face and the frameworks, concepts and tools they need to succeed in their increasingly complicated roles.



By studying a cross-section of professional service organizations, including corporate counsel offices and law firms, participants of LCC learn the unique challenges of leading these organizations and develop perspectives and skills to be effective leaders.

The program focuses on leadership as corporate counsel. Participants will learn about and discuss:

– The need for balancing their professional responsibilities as lawyers and leadership responsibilities in their corporations
– The power of alignment among corporate strategy, functional strategy, organization of the corporate counsel office, and the professionals that constitute legal departments
– Drivers of superior quality of service to internal clients
– The motivation drivers of professionals
– The importance of hiring the right professionals and developing them effectively in an internal service context
– Incentive systems, including promotion and compensation
– Leading change
– Understanding leadership styles

Participants will develop a holistic understanding of the challenges facing, and the skills and perspectives required of, effective Corporate Counsel leaders.

The Learning Model

Case studies, lectures, classroom discussions, and small group discussions focused on professional service organizations afford participants the opportunity to deliberate on the determinants of sustained superior performance.

Case studies on professional service organizations give participants exposure to real-world issues and help them work through possible approaches and solutions to the problems that leaders of professional service organizations confront. Participants practice making decisions about challenging real-life management problems in professional service settings.


The course structure is designed to sharpen the leadership skills of the lawyers who lead corporate counsel offices by exploring topics such as alignment between corporate and functional strategy, drivers of superior service, the challenge of internal service provision, motivation of professionals, compensation, nurturing an inclusive work environment, leading change, and effective leadership.

The program offers participants perspective, concepts, management tools, and skills that will help them be more effective as leaders of corporate legal departments.

Participants in this program should be currently active as leaders in an in-house legal department (i.e. General Counsel, Associate General Counsel, Chief Legal Officer, Vice President and Head of Legal, etc.) at the time of attendance. They should have teams of professionals—in particular specialties, sub-functions, practice areas, geographies, divisions, or the entire corporation—reporting to them. Those planning to transition into a in-house leadership role should apply for the program once they are active in that role. In-house legal leaders from government and not-for-profit organizations are also welcome to apply.

To ensure a collegial, small group setting, class size is limited. We encourage a broad cross-section of participants across geographies and industries.

“The topics were very relevant from start to finish. I left with concrete action items for my development as a leader of an in-house legal function.”

Mark Howard
United Services Automobile Association
United States

“The content and emphasis could not have been more relevant to my role. Its effect is beyond measuring.”

Leadership in Corporate Counsel alumnus
June 2010

“Unique opportunity to interact with peers and share day-to-day challenges. Opportunity to step back and reflect on my professional life, while obtaining useful inputs from great teachers.”

Leadership in Corporate Counsel alumnus
June 2010

Click here to read more testimonials from our participants.

Visit the Admissions page for information on the process.

The core teaching team are members of the Harvard Law School faculty – distinguished academicians, educators, researchers, authors, and practitioners in their respective fields. Representing various disciplines, they are close to practice through relationships with leaders of professional service organizations and through personal involvement as consultants for top corporations around the world.

Program Teaching Team

David Wilkins – Program Chair

John Coates IV

Scott Westfahl

Learn more about the faculty by visiting our Faculty page and using the drop down menu (“Search By Faculty Type”) to select the program of interest.




Custom Programs

Need a more customized approach? We provide programming tailored to meet the specific needs of in-house legal departments. Learn more.