“How do you manage the legal aspects of continuous market innovation?” “Know the business from top to bottom.” Glacéau continues to achieve its success in the market for enhanced water with a cutting edge, hip and sophisticated approach to brand positioning. In a very real sense, the role of the legal function is to ensure that our brand managers are making good judgments about the business as they advance our products into the marketplace. So how do we do this? There is no substitute for in-house lawyers knowing the business from top to bottom. In our industry, this means an implicit understanding of the activities, expectations and plans of regulators, competitors and consumers. We mine this knowledge, and then we synthesize and disseminate it in a way that helps to shape the company’s course of action. I like to think of our legal function as the hub of a wheel with spokes projecting in a variety of directions. Synthesis of information and data takes place at the hub, knowledge is transmitted along the spokes and implemented on the front lines of our business by our operations, sales and marketing teams. Our core legal knowledge is blended with an understanding of regulatory requirements, consumer preferences and the competitive landscape, and the result is sound advice for the company. At our company, the general counsel’s office is one where everyone is welcome to— and frequently does—stop by for consultation and advice. The question of the day may present prospective issues, or it may be some pressing matter with which the client has to deal immediately. In both cases, the legal function helps present the larger backdrop of risks and benefits so the client can be deliberative about his or her options and derive a sense of the context in which the final decision will play out. Joe DiSalvo Vice President & General Counsel Glacéau Whitestone, New York At Glacéau, we understand that there is no contradiction between being hip and edgy, and being on top of the fundamentals that are required for sound legal judgment. Each month, K&L Gates LLP presents Top of Mind®—a leading in-house lawyer’s take on key issues shaping business and legal strategies. For more Top of Mind features, please visit our website at www.klgates.com and click on the Top of Mind icon.