I believe U.S. corporations are more attuned to the need for the General Counsel to be central to the strategic growth of the company than British companies. Microsoft must be thinking along such lines by expanding the role of its GC.
Speaking recently to a GC in the U.K. who's making a move to a new role, he told me he always asked in interviews why the previous GC left/was leaving. He was surprised how often the reply was "we're looking for a trusted business adviser and partner and the last guy just didn't get it - he remained too much of a pure lawyer." So, typical British lawyers perhaps need to step up to the plate rather more than hitherto?
Technology giant Microsoft has expanded the role of its general counsel in a move that highlights the growing importance of its in-house legal function. Brad Smith (pictured) will take on the title of president and chief legal officer. He will remain general counsel. Microsoft chief executive Nadella Satya said Smith will play a ‘bigger role in strengthening our external relationships and representing the company publicly.