How Ex-GSK GC Lauren Stevens Fought the Law—and Won

, Corporate Counsel

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Lauren Stevens, former associate general counsel at GlaxoSmithKline, fought the criminal justice system last year and won. She gave her first major public talk on the ordeal, offering up hard-learned lessons to other in-house counsel at the annual meeting of the Association of Corporation Counsel.

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What's being said

  • rtts

    Quote from article:
    Today, she noted, nearly every company hires outside counsel when it’s dealing with an inquiry from a government regulator. She drew laughs when she said that’s the first lesson she learned, “If you’re going to write letters to agencies, have your outside counsel sign them.”

    Disagree completely with the above. I headed part of legal dept at major multi-national (auto company) where we did our own work in-house on virtually all antitrust, trade reg, consumer, environmental, safety, etc and had the precisely opposite bias not only to do work in-house, but when we did use outside counsel, the main communications to govt were by in-housers who mostly had long track records at the various agencies (including DoJ and US attorneys) and most of those had worked at such agencies. I was told many times that agencies trusted us more than outside counsel in that we were closer to the facts and were not seen by the govt lawyers as having to be super aggressive to please the client.Yes, we were careful and professional. Many, many matters over several years with some matters being very large and visible.. We prevailed most of the time, though not always . . BUT never had this GSK type pf problem. In the few instances that got any where near that type of allegation, we were able to demonstrate our good faith early on, even when the prosecutors were very aggressive.

    Perhaps GSK and other similar corp legal depts should have more faith about what they can do in-house from the start. Maybe GSK's bias is because their in-housers come from law firms and give those firms too much credibility. We hired many direct from govt and ran the ball ourselves.

    Lastly, our main use of outside counsel was to to play "good guy, bad guy" where outside counsel would be aggressive with the agency and then the in-houser swooped in to resolve the matter.

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