The legal profession has undergone dramatic changes in the past decade. Companies rely more heavily than ever on their in-house law departments. Recognizing this change, the Lowell Milken Institute is sponsoring the Program on In-House Counsel, which will provide UCLA Law students with courses on the role of in-house counsel, including understanding the ethical issues faced by in-house lawyers and the relationship between in-house lawyers and outside firms. The Program on In-House Counsel connects UCLA School of Law students with in-house departments and provides law students with the experience of working directly with in-house counsel. More importantly, the Program sensitizes students to the business, legal and ethical challenges faced by in-house departments.
The Program on In-House Counsel serves the academic community though the development of the In-House Counsel Scholarship Database. The database provides research and resources on the changing role of in-house counsel by compiling a comprehensive list of significant academic articles addressing the role of in-house counsel.
The program’s inaugural conference, Navigating Modern Challenges and Responsibilities, held in January 2015, focused on the challenges of heightened public scrutiny coupled with fierce competition. In-house counsel are expected to maintain a diverse workforce, ensure the safety of their consumers, ward off cybersecurity threats, and comply with the demands of regulators—all while staying competitive. As companies manage these responsibilities, in-house counsel are increasingly expected to provide strategic, business-oriented guidance. Panelists included counsel from Ford Motor Company, Hawaiian Airlines, Quest Diagnostics, Google and Lyft, among others. Goodwin Liu, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, delivered the keynote address.