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A Cup o’ Joe: What It’s Like to be a General Counsel Right Now

Being a general counsel has always been a difficult job. No easy problems make it to the GC’s desk.

It’s hard for me to believe, but I’ve been practicing law for nearly 30 years. It’s been almost 18 years since I first served as a public company GC. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to serve in that capacity both from the inside (until recently as CLO of Radiology Partners) and outside (for many GeneralCounselWest clients over the years).

I know from that experience that having responsibility for all the legal (and often compliance) affairs of a large and multifaceted organization is more than enough to keep one awake at night. Doing so in the healthcare industry during a healthcare crisis like the current pandemic adds an exponential level of complexity and risk. We are operating in an environment that makes it more challenging than ever before.

In addition to all the usual threats, recent years have added new hazards to manage, including:

  • Cybersecurity breaches and ransomware attacks
  • Increase in enforcement activity, including white collar criminal prosecutions under novel theories
  • Ever-changing (and conflicting) COVID mandates
  • Maintaining team culture in a remote environment
  • Relentless pressure from health plan payors, particularly considering the No Surprises Act
  • Difficulty recruiting and retaining quality candidates in a tight labor market
  • Managing multiple generations in the workplace

In order to effectively manage such a wide range of threats and challenges, I believe one has to:

  1. operate at their personal best,
  2. have access to the right resources (internally and externally),
  3. adopt a problem-solving, growth mindset, and
  4. develop an over-the-horizon vision.

It’s important to remember that no one can go it alone. Whether you are a sitting GC or an aspiring one, I’d be happy to talk to you about how our team at GCWest can support your success. I’ve sat in the hot seat and have first-hand awareness and knowledge about how difficult your jobs are these days having just come out of one. Carrie has recent experience serving as the interim chief compliance officer at City of Hope. Our entire team provides unique support with an “inside counsel” mindset based on our collective experiences in high-intensity environments. Together, we can help you to not only survive, but thrive!

Note: As of January 1st, I have returned to GCWest in a part-time role with the ability to serve client needs. In addition, I am continuing in a part-time role at Radiology Partners mentoring my long-time friend and colleague, Caren Weakley, in her role as the new GC, as well as working on special projects.