Number of General Counsel Appointments Normal for Now: July 2020 In-House Moves

Greeting Bumping ElbowsPhoto: fizkes/

In July, the amount of high-profile top lawyer moves appeared to be at pre-COVID-19 numbers despite summer hiring still at large and becoming more competitive than ever.

Legal recruiters told Corporate Counsel this week that the in-house jobs lost[1] earlier this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic are being slowly filled[2], with many of those positions replaced by contract attorney roles[3].

The biggest move in July is Bradley Gayton, the longtime general counsel[4] of Detroit-area automaker Ford Motor Co., who announced he would take on the top lawyer spot vacated by Bernhard Goepelt, who retired in February, at The Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta. Another notable move was Paul Grewal, a former judge for U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, who assumed the chief legal officer[5] role at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase after a vice president and deputy general counsel term at Facebook Inc. Assurant Inc. gave the official chief legal officer[6] title to Jay Rosenblum, who worked as the top lawyer in an interim capacity.

Prudential Financial Inc. will also be saying goodbye to its longtime general counsel[7] as Timothy Harris, who has worked in the legal department for over 30 years, will retire in September. Ann Kappler, the current senior vice president, deputy general counsel and head of external affairs, will step into the general counsel role.

For the top lawyers being promoted even higher in the C-suite, John Schultz at Hewlett Packard Enterprise had his title changed to incorporate the company’s chief operating officer role[8].

Usually the busiest industry, health care companies seemed to be embracing diversity and inclusion as Merck & Co. Inc.’s Organon & Co.[9], Alphabet Inc.’s Verily Life Sciences[10]Kit Check Inc.[11] and MyoKardia Inc. each named a Black woman as the legal lead.

Below are other top lawyer moves from this month. Two television streaming networks appointed general counsel while two archdioceses in major cities named new legal heads.

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