The in-house lawyer debate – Fit for purpose

The in-house lawyer debate – Fit for purpose

Mark McAteer, Legal Business: How has the role of the general counsel [GC] changed over the last five years and how will it be different in five years’ time?

Alessandro Galtieri, Colt Technology Services: It is now absolutely not enough to be just a specialist or a good manager of a team of lawyers. You need to be part of strategic conversation if you are sitting at the board level. Otherwise, you are not really adding value. Continue reading “The in-house lawyer debate – Fit for purpose”

Scrum time – Can agile project management deliver for GCs?

Scrum time – Can agile project management deliver for GCs?

Business is full of buzzwords, and among the buzziest of the last few years is ‘agile’.

The traditional project management approach is ‘waterfall’. But, in contrast to the dynamism of the term, the waterfall process can be rigid. After a long period of requirement gathering and planning, the project is developed in a linear way, journeying through multiple phases and silos. A final product is delivered after an often lengthy process, perhaps measured in months or years, but with little opportunity for adaptation once the project has begun. Continue reading “Scrum time – Can agile project management deliver for GCs?”

Chicken run – GCs notes from the middle of a crisis

Chicken run – GCs notes from the middle of a crisis

In an exclusive extract from her new book You Didn’t Mention The Piranhas, Sarah Nelson Smith writes candidly about how it feels to be in the middle of a PR crisis:

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In the second week of the crisis, the snow came. It had toyed with us for several days, threatening a festive dusting, but then changed tack and engulfed the country in a thick white blanket, mocking the efforts to get trucks loaded and onto the roads by rendering many of them impassable. I needed to get to Rugby, but living at the bottom of a hill on a country lane with a rear-wheel-drive car, I had no hope. Continue reading “Chicken run – GCs notes from the middle of a crisis”

The In-House Survey: Blurred lines – the GC as business leader

The In-House Survey: Blurred lines – the GC as business leader

Climate change and sustainability dominated news headlines in 2019. Extinction Rebellion protests, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg leading climate strikes around the world, while the President of the US has labelled it all a ‘hoax’. Investors are, in turn, increasingly putting pressure on the world’s largest companies to respond. It has become an enormous area of risk management for every business sector.

And responsibility for managing and assessing that risk has increasingly fallen upon the general counsel (GC). Andrea Harris, group chief counsel at the world’s largest marketing and public relations company, WPP, in recent years took on the head of group sustainability role, as has Heathrow Airport GC Carol Hui. Lawyers at Specsavers sit on that company’s sustainability group to help shape policy, while the GC at FTSE 100 energy giant Centrica, Justine Campbell, identifies the area as one of the biggest challenges she faces. Continue reading “The In-House Survey: Blurred lines – the GC as business leader”

The Scots GC debate: Force multipliers

The Scots GC debate: Force multipliers

Hamish McNicol, Legal Business: How do you build your identity and culture as a legal team? And how do you then communicate your teams’ qualities to the wider business?

Findlay Anderson, Baker Hughes Oilfield Equipment: The culture of the legal team comes from two different sources. One is the general counsel setting the rhythm for how they want their team to operate with the business. A lot of that comes down to the personality of the GC. The other factor is how the business sees its legal team: are they a hired function that sits in a corner and you call on them when you need them, or do you put them right in the middle of the decision-making of the company? Continue reading “The Scots GC debate: Force multipliers”

From start-up to established: du-ing it the right way

From start-up to established: du-ing it the right way

Of the two telecoms operators in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), du – officially Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company – is the youngest. A publicly listed company, du has a market capitalisation of $7.5bn, revenues of $3.4bn, over 2,000 employees and a customer base of nine million. In addition to the usual telecoms fare – both B2B and B2C communications services and broadcasting – it also offers a suite of peripheral services and technologies that encompass blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and the broad array of digital services required to meet the UAE’s smart city ambitions.

Anneliese Reinhold is general counsel and senior vice president of legal and regulatory affairs at du and, having been with the company since the beginning, has seen it grow into the emerging giant of today. Continue reading “From start-up to established: du-ing it the right way”

GC to C-suite – How one veteran lawyer crossed the floor

GC to C-suite – How one veteran lawyer crossed the floor

For many lawyers, much of the draw to move in-house is the opportunity to play a more direct role in the business. It is also the chance to develop their commercial acumen beyond the level that private practice allows. The skillset this is cultivating within the in-house team is undoubtedly making the general counsel (GC) a better adviser and has the happy side effect of preparing lawyers for senior business roles.

Barclays’ Amol Prabhu is a prominent recent example of a senior lawyer making the transition, but one that still happens all too rarely in the UK. Belonging to an exclusive but slowly growing band of business people who transitioned from in-house counsel to the C-suite, Prabhu has spent 15 years at Barclays, working in Dubai, Hong Kong, London and now Johannesburg. He was most recently the head of emerging markets legal for EMEA, before accepting the role of Barclays co-head for Africa and chief representative officer: South Africa. Continue reading “GC to C-suite – How one veteran lawyer crossed the floor”

Different strokes – Three perspectives in championing diversity in corporate America

Different strokes – Three perspectives in championing diversity in corporate America

Rachel Gonzalez, general counsel, Starbucks

Starbucks has a fundamental business tenet that we are creating a welcoming place for all people, and that means inclusion and diversity is critical to our success. We provide inclusion training and tools to managers to ensure we are preparing all leaders to foster a diverse culture based on merit. Continue reading “Different strokes – Three perspectives in championing diversity in corporate America”