Select region
Close filter
Legal, Regulatory & Compliance Professionals

Establishing New Culture in Legal Departments: Summary of Article

General Counsel (GCs) are in an unique position to transform culture. By taking on four types of leadership roles, GCs can become cultural leaders, creating a strong departmental culture, which disseminates throughout an entire organization. The below is a summary of an article by So-Ang Park, originally published by the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Most companies recognize the need to establish an appealing, modern culture if they want to attract and retain talent. Legal departments are in an unique position to drive and promote an organization’s culture. Therefore, General Counsels (GCs) should add new competencies to their skillset, acting as forward-thinking culture leaders, who help to define cultural purpose and identity. With links to all parts of the business, legal departments can spread desired values throughout  whole organizations and drive culture. It therefore makes sense for GCs to create a strong sense of cohesion and identity within the legal department to disseminate an aligned purpose and set of values. 

A four-role approach to become cultural leaders

Precisely how should GCs act in order to excel in their position as culture leaders? Inspired by the social identity theory of leadership, we believe that GCs need to take on four types of leadership roles to create and maintain a strong departmental culture. The first step is to become culture sensors. For this, GCs need to understand what it means to be a member of the legal department, what is important to the team and what the team wants to stand for. Then, they need to align this with the organization’s goals and purpose. The second step is to act as a culture role model and embody what the department wants to stand for. In other words, GCs need to walk the talk. Thirdly, GCs should be culture enablers. Here, it’s important for GCs to establish rituals, processes, and structures to let the department experience its desired culture. Finally, GCs need to act as culture advocates. In this role, GCs should champion and promote their department’s cultural interests and beliefs. They should also be prepared to stand up for these beliefs, if necessary. Law firms are gradually waking up to the need for cultural transformation. And if they act correctly, GCs can play a pivotal role in developing a modern, inclusive, and supportive culture in the increasingly competitive war for talent.

The original article was published by the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Topics Related to this Article

Related content

Sie sind der Traum eines jeden Unternehmens!

Sie sind der Traum eines jeden Unternehmens!


Gut ausgebildete Talente werden händeringend gesucht. An dieser Situation hat die Pandemie grundsätzlich nichts geändert. Mehr erfahren

From Expert to Legal Leader

From Expert to Legal Leader

Entwicklung von Führungspersönlichkeiten

Jill Ader, Chairwoman von Egon Zehnder, und Simone Stebler, Beraterin von Egon Zehnder im Bereich Financial Service Industry, über die Identifikation und Freisetzung von… Mehr erfahren

Kanzleien im Wandel –  Die Bedeutung von Kultur für die Rechtsbranche

Kanzleien im Wandel – Die Bedeutung von Kultur für die Rechtsbranche

Legal, Regulatory & Compliance Professionals

In einer immer volatileren Welt war der Anwaltsberuf lange die letzte Bastion des Traditionalismus. Aber die Zeichen der Zeit stehen auch für Kanzleien auf… Mehr erfahren

Changing language

Close icon

You are switching to an alternate language version of the Egon Zehnder website. The page you are currently on does not have a translated version. If you continue, you will be taken to the alternate language home page.

Continue to the website

Back to top