government affairs

Ten Things: How to Run a Government Affairs Campaign

If you are in-house counsel and are not paying attention to government officials and regulators (state, local, federal, international) you are making a big mistake.  A company acts at its peril (e.g., Google, Microsoft, etc.) if it underestimates the importance of being aware of what various government regulators are up to or thinking. Your company can be impacted dramatically (good or bad) by what happens through government action (or inaction).   Government action can come in many forms, e.g., taxation, new rules and regulations (business-specific or general), government sanctions, import-export controls, legal reform (tort law, patent law), merger control, data privacy/security, public company regulation, and dozens of other areas.  Recently, I have read articles on potential new action around patent reform, product regulation outside the United States, data privacy, Internet/net neutrality, Fair Labor Standards Act regulations, and potential new regulations of financial advisors.  Depending on your company’s business, some of these issues could have a direct impact on the bottom-line.  In short, some part of your company’s business is affected daily by government action (or inaction) either in or outside your home country  To be a truly effective in-house lawyer, you need to be on top of this important area.  Moreover, being attuned to positive and negative governmental developments is an area where you and the legal function can add great value to the company and show strategic vision.