Leading a global legal team is a complex role and many general counsel could be forgiven for spending all their energy just trying to get the job done. Not so at Michelin. Despite overseeing a legal community of 200 members, comprising lawyers, patent engineers, paralegals and admin staff, spread across 20 countries, group GC Benoit …
‘A good general counsel should do three things,’ says National Grid’s Alison Kay: ‘Manage the legal requirements of the business, manage their people and manage their budget.’ But as managing the legal requirements of a large business becomes more time consuming, GCs are increasingly finding it difficult to pay adequate attention to costs and staff.
The innovation illusion
‘There’s a palpable sense of innovation in the legal industry,’ says Casey Flaherty, founder of legal technology consultancy Procertas. ‘But then,’ he adds, ‘there always has been.’
Journey into the unknown
For general counsel struggling to manage the administrative and regulatory burdens of the role, a head of operations has become the must-have accessory. In the US, the growth of legal ops is demonstrated by statistics.
The team in I
Nailing the issue of what makes a high-performing in-house function, with the emphasis on operational sophistication, has become the Holy Grail for general counsel.
Legal spend is the second-largest ‘cost centre’ for £21bn global banking giant Barclays. This tantalising statement is in the bank’s 2018 Request for Quotation document, sent to law firms ahead of its final panel review this year and seen by The In-House Lawyer. The document provides detail on what Barclays describes as this ‘sizeable’ legal …
Alex Novarese, The In-House Lawyer: How do people feel about the service from law firms? Simon White, Cognizant: There are a lot of individuals I like a great deal but as institutions, I struggle with law firms as a concept. Alex Novarese: Because? Simon White: I work at a company that has a large legal …
Tumbling into crisis
Corporate crises are on the upswing. A faster-paced R&D cycle, improved but riskier technology, 24-hour news… the list of triggers goes on. But our understanding of such events has not always evolved at the same pace. We speak of a crisis as a single incident but, in reality, a chain reaction will likely ensue – …
Martin Cook: Funding Circle
The London office of peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle is exactly what you would expect from one of the UK’s largest and most high-profile fintech businesses.
Julie Smyth: BAE Systems Air
‘My husband has virtually no understanding of what I do,’ admits BAE Systems Air chief counsel Julie Smyth. ‘He thinks I sit in meetings all day.’
Profile: Richard Price, Anglo American
Shortly before Richard Price went in-house as group general counsel and company secretary at Anglo American, the legal team’s headcount was cut in half. This was not coupled with a reduced workload, however. Expectations remained the same. Price,-Richard-(IHL-bright-colours) Quite a platform for Price, a former external adviser to the company as Shearman & Sterling’s co-head …
Daniel Toner, Spire Healthcare
Daniel Toner had done his research. Before an interview to become head of legal at Bupa Hospitals in 2006, he noticed the company had shifted some of its non-hospital assets to a new division. At the interview he asked, tongue-in-cheek, whether Bupa was selling its hospitals division. He was told: ‘Absolutely not. That would never …
Sarah Nelson Smith, Yum! Brands
In many ways it was ideal preparation. Before embarking on a legal career, Sarah Nelson Smith took a post-law school gap year working as a holiday rep in the popular Greek retreat of Halkidiki. It was an eye-opening experience, figuratively and literally, welcoming holidaymakers at unholy hours and dealing with bizarre questions and gripes.
Rushad Abadan, Standard Life Aberdeen
Rushad Abadan always knew what he wanted to do with his life. ‘I always fancied the idea of being a lawyer, even at school. I was one of those people who was very clear about their career path early on. Happily for me it worked out.’
Neil Murrin, trainline
The train puns were inevitable, but it took longer than expected. Towards the end of my conversation with the general counsel of online ticket retailer trainline, Neil Murrin, he says: ‘It’s a matter of getting people to join us on that journey.’ And adds: ‘Getting people on the right track and all that.’
Mark Maurice-Jones, Nestlé
Unusually for the current UK and Ireland general counsel of Swiss multinational and famed KitKat creator Nestlé, Mark Maurice-Jones’ career started in teaching. Armed with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Cambridge that he was unsure how to utilise, Maurice-Jones opted for a year-and-a-half-long stint in Hong Kong teaching maths, physics and chemistry. …