Bennett A. MacDougall | The Dreyfus Corporation
Chief legal officer

Bennett A. MacDougall

‘My advice [to aspiring general counsel] is to learn as much as possible about the business you support and the industry you cover’, Bennett A. MacDougall, chief legal officer of The Dreyfus Corporation explains. ‘One of the main criticisms of lawyers (both internal and external) is that they may be very skilled at answering legal issues in isolation, but they are often not able to provide practical guidance because they do not appreciate the wider commercial or operational context. There will be times when you have to take a stance that is unpopular with your business clients, and they will be much more willing to listen to you if they believe you understand the full picture and the ramifications of the position you are advocating’. MacDougall’s achievements in the field make him ideally placed to offer such valuable thoughts on what makes a great general counsel. Indeed, he has been in the thick of some extremely complex projects during his time with The Dreyfus Corporation, and is installed in an extremely important position for the company: ‘As head of the US retail legal group of BNY Mellon Investment Management, I am responsible for providing legal support to businesses representing approximately $400bn of assets under management’. He has also put together an extremely impressive team to aid him and the company in completing their objectives. ‘In addition to a terrific staff of attorneys, the Dreyfus legal department depends on a full roster of top-flight paralegals, a very difficult proposition in the New York market where it is very difficult and expensive to attract and retain paralegals. This was done by building the paralegal team internally rather than looking outside the company’. In addition to this, MacDougall constructed a “Centre of Excellence” in Pittsburgh, which has been ‘been a very successful program both from a cost-saving perspective and a team-continuity perspective’.

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