The second day of the International Bar Association Corporate Counsel Conference brought out more information about the increased regulations that are on the way. A keynote address by Phillip Collins, chairman of the UK Office of Fair Trading, made it clear that Europe is getting more assertive in pursuing anti-competitive actions.
Just in case we need to be reminded we live in a world of global reach, there was a panel focused on multijurisdictional competition claims. Non-U.S. jurisdictions are increasingly aggressive with prosecution of these matters. Global companies need to make sure they deal with all of the relevant competition authorities. These are global issues.
When making decisions, which standards do general counsel apply? We say the general counsel represents the company. What does that mean? From whom do we take direction? Board? Shareholders? Stakeholders? Customers? Is it a balance? Does it depend on the situation? When applying standards, what should be the GC’s priority? Profit maximization? Compliance? Risk minimization? Do you balance long-term vs. short-term? Of course the answers vary with the individual situation, but the chance to discuss them was thought-provoking.
Other interesting discussions included one on what makes a good business partner in a GC, and another on corporate social responsibility – should it be an affirmative or a defensive process? At LexisNexis, we have made Corporate Social Responsibility part of our brand identity with the Rule of Law initiatives and anti-human trafficking intiatives we support. Why would we tie our brands in such a way? Simply, it is the right thing to do and that drives our corporate social responsibility initiatives.