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Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP: Scope of In-House Counsel Duties - Essay Example

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This essay will address the scope of duties encountered by in-house counsel at Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP. It is true that in-house counsel spend the majority of their time handling traditional legal work and that they also manage how certain legal cases are outsourced to outside law firms…
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Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP: Scope of In-House Counsel Duties
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Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP: Scope of In-House Counsel Duties This essay will address the scope of duties encountered by in-house counsel at PriceWaterhouse Coopers LLP. It is true that in-house counsel spend the majority of their time handling traditional legal work and that they also manage how certain legal cases are outsourced to outside law firms. There are, however, additional duties which in-house counsel typically fulfill and a brief look at the in-house counsel at Price Waterhouse is illustrative in this respect. This essay, in particular, will address how in-house counsel function as advisors to other departments and the training functions which they perform within their business organization. These additional roles are quite important.
As a preliminary matter, the expertise of in-house counsel is often relied upon by employees in other departments. The Human Resources department, for example, often solicits opinions and advice from in-house counsel. These opinions involve the proper interpretations of employee benefit plans for Price Waterhouse employees, the solicitation of opinions regarding equality in the workplace, and compliance with new legislation or amendments to existing legislation. In short, the in-house counsel, each with their own particular area of expertise, serve as in-house legal advisors to other departments. In addition, the in-house counsel serve as advisors to executives. They offer advice on issues of professional ethics, they give opinions when certain potential transactions do not fall clearly within a particular law, and they aid with ensuring compliance with regulatory matters. It is important to note that while in-house counsel are divided by area of expertise, they are also committed more generally to serving Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP as the client; in this way, in-house counsel are duty-bound to assist in all areas of the company's operations.
In addition, the in-house counsel do conduct continuing education and training for the benefit of the employees. The in-house counsel are typically comprised of specialists in their fields, be it taxation or business transactions or corporate finance, and they are well-suited to performing these duties. They fulfill these duties in a variety of ways. The first way is by publishing guidelines and legal commentaries. In-house counsel publish training manuals and commentary for employees, for clients, and for the larger legal community. At Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP, for example, publications are posted on the company's web page and readily available to employees and the general public alike. Some of these training publications address topics of relevance to company employees, such as Executive Challenges, Improving Business Performance, and Reporting Performance (Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2006: np). In addition to publishing information, in-house counsel also conduct seminars and workshops of particular relevance to the company's operations and clients. These seminars are rather frequent, and in-house counsel can use role-play and real life hypothetical situations in order to prepare the company's employees for common business and legal issues. Some recent training seminars at Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP have involved sexual harassment, conflicts of interest, and building intercultural teams in international business transactions. At the end of the day, in-house counsel are an extraordinarily valuable resource and they are, in fact, called upon to conduct training for company employees and staff.
In the final analysis, in-house counsel perform a variety of tasks. They are called upon to work with other departments and they are asked to train employees by both publishing and conducting seminars. They are a valuable resource for the entire organization.
References
Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP Global Home: Publications and Training. Accessed
November 1, 2006.
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