This is the latest post in the success tips for in-house counsel series by Dimitri Mastrocola. It’s critical to have a 90-day action plan in place when you first assume a general counsel role.

Here are a few suggestions on how to outline your 90-day action plan as an incoming GC:


  • a checklist of action items for the first 90 days, NOT a strategic plan
  • a work-in-progress, shaped by feedback and information received

Information to gather

  • the company, its business and operations
  • strategies, goals, challenges & key initiatives of the company and the legal team
  • how the GC should interact with key stakeholders
  • expectations for acting as (i) head of legal, (ii) advisor to the CEO and board and (iii) partner to the executive team and business heads

Execution steps

  • use research gathered during interviews & pre-start conversations to put issues in context and determine priorities
  • prepare a list of people to meet
  • create a communication strategy
  • set key milestones to measure the GC’s 90-day progress


  • being too aggressive about what the GC can accomplish during the first 90 days
  • setting unrealistic expectations about what the GC and legal team can achieve
  • trying to establish value by seeming to have all the answers right away
  • making major organizational changes to the legal function before thoroughly assessing the situation

These tips aren’t just for in-house counsel – anyone can apply them to what they do.

Read the other posts in the in-house counsel success series by Dimitri. Contact Dimitri with any questions.

What to do before you start your in-house counsel position.

What to do after you accept your in-house counsel position.