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May 21, 2018

Michelin's Former and Current GCs Offer a Lawyer's Guide on Expectations

By Daniel S. Sanders, Jr., Valerie Williams

Daily Report

In an article published on May 7 in the Daily Report, Nelson Mullins’ Dan Sanders and Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Michelin North America, Inc. Valerie Williams provide insight on outside counsel management. Describing their experience working together at Michelin, they emphasize how in-house departments can become more efficient by outlining expectations.

For instance, a team should clearly understand its job responsibilities. Sanders and Williams highlight seven expectations set for the internal staff at Michelin to successfully achieve goals. Each is detailed in context to a variety of practice areas to ensure specificity. Among the most important is engagement, which the authors define as “visible, positive action to further department and company interest; active participation and interest in the work of your colleagues.” Ways to achieve this include participative attendance at scheduled meetings and offering and debating different viewpoints.

Additionally, Sanders and Williams highlight the importance of communicating clearly and often. “Information flows vertically and horizontally; it is clear, concise, and regularized; it is effective – audience leaves with an understanding of important points.” One way to ensure effective communication is the visibility of reporting to management and teammates.

Further, they remind readers of the importance of knowing the business: “General knowledge of industry and competitors, and solid working knowledge of your clients’ business goals.” The best way to achieve a goal is to set it, Sanders and Williams detail. “The same is true for expectations. Be simple, clear, and direct. And be candid and constructively self-critical in the assessment.”