Bruce Hawthorne, Corporate Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Huntington Ingalls Industries, described what it takes for a general counsel to be an effective leader during his presentation at the 2014 Chief Legal Officer Leadership Forum in New York on March 4. In his presentation, "Leadership Opportunities for the General Counsel," Hawthorne explained that time management is crucial for general counsels to succeed.
According to Hawthorne, it is important for general counsels to understand how they contribute to their organizations. An effective general counsel has a point of view, Hawthorne said, that enables him or her to understand and resolve problems. In addition, how a general counsel views these issues can have far-flung effects on an organization, Hawthorne said. If a general counsel recognizes the importance of time management, Hawthorne noted, he or she can resolve problems quickly and efficiently: "Having a point of view about what you’re going to pay attention to, what’s important that you need to spend your time on and how are you going to be comfortable that other things are going to happen right, I think is a very important thing."
Hawthorne stated that general counsels regularly need to focus on what it takes to be a good leader. General counsels should take the initiative, Hawthorne said, to ensure that their organizations get the support they need: "From a general counsel managing other lawyers point of view, if you’re not in sync with them on what they’re empowered to do and what you suggest you want them to do, you can miss some opportunities in terms of people who have good things to do from taking initiative."