Chief legal officers have more power than ever before.
ONCE upon a time, in-house corporate lawyers were dismissed as plodders. Partners at law firms make far more money. Only someone who couldn’t hack it as a legal brain-for-hire would seek the dull security of a salaried job, people assumed. But the power of in-house lawyers has grown hugely in the past ten years. The chief legal officer (CLO) is now one of the mightiest figures in the C-suite.
A new report written by Nabarro partners Jonathan Warne and Peter Williamson suggests that lawyers’ involvement in key strategic decisions remains limited. As its title, ’From In-house Lawyer to Business Counsel’, suggests, it focuses on the evolving role of general counsel and the need to prove their business value. A total of 81 in-house lawyers were interviewed from companies with legal teams ranging from 250 to one, along with 13 CEOs.
By Kgadi Kekana
Mistrust and misperception are often the first challenges that internal legal advisors come up against. It takes some strategic marketing and communication skills to break down such barriers.
by Mabatho Seeiso
We all want to be seen as strong, happy, healthy, energetic and successful. Essentially, we have been taught that the only image that we should show to the outside world is that of perfection. To portray anything else is professional suicide. The trouble is how we define and understand perfection. We understand it as faultlessness, which is unattainable. The reality is that we are perfect in our imperfections. That is what humanity is. We have many great qualities and we also have a shadow, that aspect of ourselves that contains our negative qualities, we are strong in some situations and weak in others, we excel at some things and struggle in others, there are aspects of our lives that work very well and yet in others we have challenges. All these things contribute to our unique story and there is a lot of value, richness and lessons in that story. Hence, the story I am about to share with you.
I never thought that I would stop working after my twins were born to be a stay-at-home-mom, but I did. During that time I learned a few things: I learned that I unconditionally love my children and that I love being a mom, but also that moms don’t have to feel guilty for wanting something for themselves. And for me, I wanted to continue my career. So I submitted my resume for my dream job and was happily surprised when they actually called me for an interview.
Navigate the high seas with clarity. Historically, legal advisors and the teams they make up have remained islands of stability no matter how tumultuous the seas of change around them. They switch teams less frequently, legal expertise was more important than career considerations like the size of the or teams or budgets. They bore the Company's institutional memory and were rarely accountable for strategic or operational performance.