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GC Magazine

Winter 2014

HOW TO BE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF YOUR OWN CAREER

Winter 2014/15

Karen Dillon, Former Editor of Harvard Business Review

It’s been a tough road to the top, but you’ve made it. What happens if the view isn’t good enough? Former editor of Harvard Business Review Karen Dillon considers how those who have achieved the role of GC can keep the journey going.

For decades, Alex had aspired to the role of general counsel. He spent the majority of his career in the legal department of a Fortune 100 company, working hard to distinguish himself not only with legal acumen, but with management and leadership skills as well. But when he finally got the nod to assume the top legal position, there was, he confesses now, a bit of a letdown. After chasing that job and that title for nearly three decades – and finally getting it - Alex found himself wrestling with an unsettling sense of disappointment.

WHERE ARE ALL THE LAWYER-CEOS?

Winter 2014/15

Edward Smith, Telefonica

GCs are quick to trumpet their intimate understanding of business needs. But in the UK there are surprisingly few who become business leaders.

How is your maths? According to 2013 research by recruitment firm Robert Half (quoted in Management Today), 52% of FTSE 100 CEOs have a finance background, 21% have an engineering background, 9% are from retail or hospitality, 8% are from marketing or advertising and 4% are from technology. If you are the stereotypical in-house lawyer, it’s likely you are scratching your head to establish the remainder. To put you out of your misery, this leaves 6%. Perhaps there are lawyers in that 6%? However, the typical FTSE 100 CEO is a 53-year-old accountant. You probably know him (yes, as a rule they are male). If you are anything like me, working directly for him as his general counsel probably represented the pinnacle of your ambition.

THE 5-MINUTE FINANCIAL ANALYSIS: HOW MUCH IS YOUR COMPANY WORTH?

Winter 2014/15

Catherine McGregor, Editor in Chief

If you’re anything like the picture of a lawyer painted by our contributor Edward Smith of TELEFÓNICA UK (see Where are all the lawyer-CEOs?), you might be thinking about flicking past this section out of fear of being outed as a finance-phobe. We know that’s a stereotype… but lots of our in-house lawyer friends have confided that, for many, finance is an Achilles heel.

Fear no longer! In a regular feature, GC will be taking you through the salient features of finance in its various forms – so you can impress the CFO (or at least nod your head in the correct places).

So how much is your company worth?

FROM CLIENT TO COLLEAGUE: NETWORK RAIL

Winter 2014/15

Catherine Rodgers, Editor and features writer

In the first of a series profiling legal departments that are pioneering innovative Ways to meld legal with business, GC meets with UK rail infrastructure company Network Rail’s Natalie Jobling, Cathy Crick and Dan Kayne.

An objective eye is obviously vital for lawyers, but it is also expected that GCs will deliver a legal function that is aligned with business needs. So how can you go about transforming your relationship with business partners so that you see them less as ‘clients’, and more as ‘colleagues?’

REVOLUTION! How A GC radically reorganised the legal department

Winter 2014/15

Catherine McGregor, Editor in Chief

Robert Robinson, GC of insurer Amlin, recently restructured and unified a collection of disparate legal teams. He explains the operational advantages, and challenges, of such a move to GC’s Catherine McGregor.

THE WORLD’S GREATEST MANAGEMENT THINKER: CLAYTON CHRISTENSEN

Winter 2014/15

Catherine McGregor, Editor in Chief

Inspired by our specially commissioned piece by Karen Dillon, co-author with Christensen of How Will You Measure Your Life, we present a quick guide to this seminal business theorist.

Being ranked as the foremost management thinker in the world is not a title that appears to daunt Clayton M. Christensen. At the age of 62, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading lights in innovation. In both 2011 and 2013 he achieved the top billing on the Thinkers50 chart which compiles the global ranking of management thinkers.

WHAT I WISH I’D KNOWN: MOVING IN-HOUSE

Winter 2014/15

Catherine Rodgers, Editor and features writer

Corporate counsel from around the globe pass on their top tips for the first few months in the job.

For the new in-house counsel freshly arrived from a top-tier law firm, the future looks bright. Equipped with analytical skills hewn from a rigorous academic and practical training, the eagle eyes of a seasoned risk-spotter, and the quick wits of a problem-destroyer, new corporate counsel could be forgiven for thinking that the time is nigh to relax into the kinder work-life balance that company life promises. But that first in-house role brings challenges that take many by surprise. New in-housers need to develop a different set of skills to manage the demands of having the client sitting outside the door.

THE THIRD WAY

Winter 2014/15

Catherine McGregor, Editor in Chief

In-house or private practice? Received wisdom puts this as the binary choice facing lawyers. But both roles place huge and increasing demands on time, and for many, managing their schedule is a receding dream. Does it have to be this way?

Former Airwave GC and company secretary Rachael Davidson is one of a growing breed of UK lawyers who might have cracked the conundrum. For nearly a year she has been working as an interim GC for an alternative law firm. This provider, Halebury, describes itself as a supplier of ‘external in-house lawyers’. Could this new model be blurring the line between internal and external counsel while also allowing fully flexible working? GC’s Catherine McGregor catches up with her to find out more.

WHAT’S YOUR IP STRATEGY?

Winter 2014/15

Catherine McGregor, Editor in Chief

Like many company lawyers you’re thinking about IP, but are you thinking about it in the right way? GC meets with IP expert Toe Su Aung to discuss what legal departments should be focusing on.

Intellectual property is a critical issue for every company these days, whether they’re looking at traditional IP issues like patents and copyright, or emerging IP issues around employee knowledge. However, one experienced in-house IP lawyer argues that companies are not doing enough to adopt a proactive position in protecting and advancing their IP rights. In fact, Toe Su Aung, who led corporate affairs and legal teams on IP protection and policy at British American Tobacco, feels so strongly about this that she has made it her business. Earlier this year, together with former Microsoft in-houser Chris Oldknow, she formed Elipe - a consultancy focusing on providing IP-related government relations and corporate affairs advice.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

Winter 2014/15

Catherine Rodgers, Editor and features writer

GC takes a look at the intersection of risk and the legal function, from the perspectives of a general counsel and an insurance underwriter.

The world is ‘living in an era of unprecedented level of crises and troubles,’ UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told delegates to the UN General Assembly Meeting during his welcoming address in September. What does this mean for organisations doing business on the ground in troubled jurisdictions?

WHISTLEBLOWERS AND THE IN-HOUSE LAWYER: A question of ethics and objectivity

Winter 2014/15

Catherine McGregor, Editor in Chief

The classic notion of the whistleblower is the little guy - lone, principled and conflicted, fighting a David and Goliath battle against a stony and faceless corporation. Are they heroes? Or are they unscrupulous and out for what they can get? The term whistleblower is said to have been coined in the 1970s by US activist Ralph Nader to avoid the negative connotations of terms such as ‘informer’ and ‘snitch’, instead invoking the referee in a sports match, blowing the whistle to stop the game when there is unfair play.


HARVARD THINKING AND DATA PROTECTION

Winter 2014/15

New York Summit supported by Debevoise & Plimpton

The first in GC and The Legal 500’s Corporate Counsel Summit series, which took place in september in new york, combined innovative management theory and cutting-edge legal developments.

GC’s mission statement is to bring innovative business theory to in-house lawyers. The seminar began by covering the latest developments in data privacy and cyber security. The focus was the relationship between personal and corporate security, and best practice lessons we can transfer from one to the other. This was especially topical in the light of the recent well-publicised leaks of personal photos of celebrities stored in the cloud, as well as data leaks at Target and JP Morgan. Jeremy Feigelson and David Sarratt of Debevoise & Plimpton presented an insightful and pertinent workshop on the issues.

A DANGEROUS GAME OF BLUFF

Winter 2014/15

Paul Hughes, Cranfield School of Management

In today’s business climate it’s imperative for in-house teams to demonstrate value to the business. In a regular column, Paul Hughes of Cranfield School of Management tells us why and how.

When I was talking recently with the GC of a multinational operating globally, they outlined the purpose of their legal function to me. They said it existed to ‘provide high quality legal services tailored to the organisation’s needs, carried out by more knowledgeable lawyers than could be secured from external providers, yet at a much reduced price than would be paid if solely using an external supplier’.

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