Bloomberg Law
March 3, 2020, 1:15 PM

General Electric’s Jack Welch Changed Role of In-House Lawyers

Bruce Kaufman
Bruce Kaufman

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch Jr, who passed away Sunday at 84, helped remake not just the company, but also its legal department, according to those who worked under him.

Making Change: Welch helped empower his in-house lawyers and shook up a previously staid law department with new hires from major law firms and the government. He also gave the lawyers at the company more latitude to work with regulators to clean up corporate messes.

Power Shift: “Inside the company we became part of the management team, and outside the company we shifted power from the law firms to the law department,” said Benjamin Heineman Jr., who spent 16 years as GE’s general counsel. “That was due to Jack. He allowed me to hire an inside law firm, which changed the relationship for law firms outside the company.”

Brian Baxter has the story.


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To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Kaufman in Washington at