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Why Corporations Are Hiring Attorneys for Board Positions
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Photo credit: Nick Cowie/FreeImages

Summary: Corporations were once wary of hiring lawyers to do anything but provide general counsel, but times have changed, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.

Over the past few years, lawyers have gone from being business advisors to do business deciders. So why the change?

  
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While large businesses have always hired general counsel, it is a recent trend to actually hire an attorney to serve on a board or as a leader in the company. The Dallas Morning News reports that this change occurred because of the 2008 financial crisis. For decades, businesses previously loathed the risk-adverse personalities of lawyers, but now they embrace their conservative decision making.

For instance, in April attorney Gary Kennedy landed a board position at the California-based investment firm, Pimco. He was the first attorney to ever serve on the eight-member board. Before accepting his seat, Kennedy retired in 2013 after two decades of working as a lawyer for American Airlines.

Kennedy isn’t the only lawyer to transition to a leader of large corporation. The Dallas Morning News reports that since 2010, more than a dozen Texas lawyers have taken on such roles, which pay on average $177,000 annually.

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Other notable lawyers-turned-business leaders include:

  • Vinson & Elkins corporate partner Mike Wortley joined Pioneer Natural Resources as a director in 2015.



  • Former Continental Airlines general counsel Jennifer Vogel joined the board of Virgin America in 2015.

  • Lawyer Mary Korby joined Darling Ingredients as a director in 2014.

  • In 2014, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher senior counsel Ron Kirk joined the board of Texas Instruments.

  • In 2010, Former Exxon Mobil general counsel Charles Matthews joined the boards of Frost Bank and Trinity Industries.

  • TPG Capital founder David Bonderman serves on the board of  Energy Future Holdings.

  • Allen Finkelson, a retired law partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, is a director at Range Resources.

Source: The Dallas Morning News

Photo credit: Nick Cowie/FreeImages



 

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