Legal Business

Perspectives: Louise Pentland, PayPal

As GC of Nokia during the complex carve-out and sale of its handsets division to Microsoft, Louise Pentland refined her leadership skills at the sharp end. An early exposure to a formal in-house training programme was, she says, vital preparation for a senior role. ‘I was lucky because I joined Nokia at a very early stage in my career and their internal training is all around being the best you can be, developing networks, and getting results without trampling on people.’

Since that time, says Pentland, a growing skills gap between in-house and private practice has made structured training even more necessary. ‘Companies are more flexible in their understanding of the role of corporate counsel and lawyers are more willing to step across boundaries. It’s a far better situation from a career development and employee retention point of view but it means in-house lawyers need leadership skills and GCs need to ensure staff have those skills.’