Leadership in Corporate Counsel

About the Program


PROGRAM DATES: June 6-9, 2023

PROGRAM FEE: $14,000


For the current COVID-19 guidelines for coming to campus, visit Harvard Law School Executive Education Health and Safety Protocols→


Leadership in Corporate Counsel

The 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. General counsels of leading organizations encounter challenges unlike those faced by law firm or other external-client facing, professional service firm leaders. Through our highly interactive case-study method, contextualized specifically for lawyers in key in-house roles, we will develop your capabilities around building an effective legal department, creating a culture of innovation, interacting with boards, managing through crises, and understanding the disruptive forces that are changing the global market for legal services.



Participation in Leadership in Corporate Counsel was an intense intellectual experience. I appreciated the content of the program, the use of the case study method, and the excellent selection of discussion topics. However, the biggest advantage was the interaction between experienced lecturers and participants from all over the world. This extraordinary atmosphere of academic discussion, and constructive exchange of views produced amazing results. Everyone was fully engaged and was willing to share their knowledge, comment on cases and listen to others.

These were ideal conditions to strengthen my leadership competences, to benefit from many experiences, to get to know different ideas for solving problems characteristic only for corporate counsels. What is interesting, in my opinion, the program in fact does not finish at the moment of receiving the certificate. My group keeps in touch and we still support each other in the exchange of professional experience. This is exactly what I expected when I chose Leadership in Corporate Counsel.

Wojciech Bartnik
Regional Legal Counsel Northern & Eastern Europe
A global leader in heavy lifting and engineered transport

Leadership in Corporate Counsel’s curriculum will provide you with perspectives, concepts, management tools, and skills that will help you be a more effective leader of your corporate legal department.

The program aims to prepare you to:

  • Identify and apply personal leadership strategies to better balance your complex responsibilities as a lawyer and leader within your organization and legal department.
  • Elevate your department within your organization and lead more effectively by building your team leadership skills.
  • Position yourself as a “trusted advisor” within your organization and understand the approaches to implementing key organizational changes as part of developing an organizational strategy.
  • Make better strategic decisions and manage crises.

The Learning Model

Case studies, lectures, classroom discussions, and small group discussions focused afford participants the opportunity to consider multiple pathways to sustained success for their teams and organizations. Learning by case method allows participants to work through possible approaches and solutions to real-world problems in a classroom context.


Participants will develop a holistic understanding of the challenges facing, and the skills and perspectives required of, effective Corporate Counsel leaders. The course will explore topics such as:

  • Balancing professional responsibilities
  • The power of alignment among corporate strategy, functional strategy, the 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
  • Incentive systems, including promotion and compensation
  • Managing and leading change
  • Leadership and Diversity

Who Should Attend?

Participants in this program should be currently active as leaders in an in-house legal department. Roles include:

  • General Counsel
  • Associate General Counsel
  • Chief Legal Officer
  • Vice President
  • Head of Legal

At the time of attendance, participants should have teams of professionals reporting to them. Those planning to transition into an 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

“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

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

Hillary Sale

Scott Westfahl

Learn more about the Leadership in Corporate Counsel faculty→

Custom Programs

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


Harvard is authorized to offer distance education under the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), an agreement that allows institutions of higher education in Massachusetts to offer distance education to students residing in other states that participate in SARA. For information about SARA-related student complaint processes for distance education students, please see https://vpal.harvard.edu/nc-sara.