Is it the law? The corporation? The top management? The shareholders?
If GM in-house lawyers are charged with criminal liability, that issue will be one all in-house lawyers will have to struggle with. It's especially scary because one possible client - GM - could decide to waive attorney-client privilege. Yes, GM lawyers could wind up doing prison time.
In The Wall Street Journal, Christopher M. Matthews and Joann S. Lublin report:
"Federal prosecutors are scrutinizing whether employees inside and outside General Motors's legal department concealed evidence from regulators about a faulty ignition switch, potentially delaying a recall of vehicles, with the fatal problem, according to people familiar with the matter." Here you can read that coverage (sub. req.).
At GM, the executive vice president and general counsel is Michael Millikin. He would not be the first "company lawyer" to be in the hot seat. And then to find himself in prison. White House lawyers during the Nixon Administration Chuck Colson and John Dean were poster boys for that.
Again, we have to ask: What/Who is the in-house lawyer's primary client?