2011 Wisconsin Law Review Symposium to Address Evolution of In-house and General Counsel

The practice of law has changed radically in the last twenty years, with the transformation of many mega firms, the rise of "virtual" firms, and the outsourcing of legal services to legal "temps" domestically and to inexpensive service providers overseas. Less well-known--but perhaps more important--are changes within the legal departments of businesses, the offices of in-house and general counsel.

The 2011 Wisconsin Law Review Symposium--"Who's in the House? The Changing Nature and Role of In-house and General Counsel"--brings together an all-star cast of academics and lawyers to consider this question at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery November 18 & 19, in Madison, Wisconsin.

Cosponsored by the Law School's Wisconsin Business Law Initiative, the Institute for Legal Studies, the Global Legal Studies Center, the East Asian Legal Studies Center and the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, the Symposium will feature internationally recognized authorities, including:

- David Wilkins (Harvard)
- Cynthia Fornelli (Center for Audit Quality)
- William Simon (Columbia)
- Larry Ribstein (Illinois)
- Deborah DeMott (Duke)
- Donald Langevoort (Georgetown)
- Jerome Okarma (Johnson Controls)
- Thomas Howell (American Bar Association)
- Gail Lione (formerly with Harley Davidson)

Organized as a series of panels, symposium participants will explore topics including:

  • How changes in the economics of law practice affect (and are affected by) in-house and general counsel;
  • How these changes affect issues of quality control, from matters of ethics to diversity, to legal compliance and crisis management;
  • How startups and entrepreneurs make use of in-house attorneys; and
  • Transnational issues affecting in-house and general counsel.

"There appears to have been a profound but quiet shift in the distribution of legal services over the last twenty years," said symposium organizer Jonathan Lipson, UW Law School Foley & Lardner Professor of Law. "While others have paid attention to lawyers and large law firms, no one has really focused on what is arguably the heart of much of the change we are seeing: the clients who purchase legal services, and their growing ranks of in-house lawyers."

The event will feature six panels and three keynote speeches. It has been approved for Continuing Legal Education Credit by the Wisconsin and Illinois Board of Bar Examiners.

The Symposium will also be the public launch of the Wisconsin Business Law Initiative. Through events such as the Symposium, and other events and projects planned for the coming years, the Initiative will advance the business law work of the University of Wisconsin Law School by better connecting the Law School to practicing business lawyers in Wisconsin and beyond.

Learn more and register for the symposium here.

Learn more about the Wisconsin Business Law Initiative here.

Submitted by UW Law News on October 25, 2011

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