The business case for greater gender diversity has only increased the need for transformation in executive and functional head roles. Yet women are still far from being equally represented in the top legal position at FTSE companies. Progress has been made in the FTSE 100, but in FTSE 250 companies there is a lack of collective understanding of what it takes to maximise the potential of senior female legal leaders.
The role of a general counsel (GC) has developed substantively over the last decade due to increasingly complex regulation, technological advancements and globalisation. GCs now bring more to the table than just their legal expertise and act as strategic legal and business advisers to the chief executive and executive leadership teams. Recruiting and developing the right talent has become harder and even more critical than ever before.
GCs are now viewed as the go-to advisers for chief executives and boards of directors on laws and regulations, as well as public policy, ethics and risk. In addition, GCs now possess broad financial acumen and commercial understanding, leading them to also participate in senior leadership discussions on complex business problems and to provide innovative solutions. The GC has become a principal member of senior management teams and offers advice not just on legal matters but in helping shape discussion and debate on broader business issues.
1. Have a plan and be proactive
It is important to have a career plan as the only person responsible for managing your career is you. If you cannot grow and develop within your own organisation (and often you can), think about whether you need to make a move. Talk to other in-house lawyers and if you are junior, find a mentor. A good recruiter will also advise you on career planning and what clients are seeking. Be strategic and keep growing.