Lara Y. Barrett – GC Powerlist
Benelux 2022

Hotels

Lara Y. Barrett

Vice president and senior counsel, development EMEA | Marriott International

    How do you feel the pandemic has changed the world of work for in-house counsel and the function of the general counsel?

    The pandemic has had a direct consequence on the role that general counsel and in-house lawyers play within each company’s executive board,whereby general counsel are now taking part in strategic and advisory role and weigh inon high-level decisions. The ever-changing legal rules during the beginning of the pandemic emphasised the need to have in-house lawyers rapidly evaluate the impact these rules would have on their organisations, the company’s business and employees. Lawyers were thrown in the forefront of taking important strategic business decisions.At Marriott, in-house lawyers already had a seat at the executive table however it was during the pandemic that their advice became central to many business decisions.

    What will be the main focus for the company in the next 12 months and how do you intend to assist with this?

    From a business perspective, I believe that Marriott will continue to focus on leisure and personal travel and continue, and on engaging with our most local customers through multiple offerings rather than just hotel stays.

    What do you feel are the pros and cons of an in-house legal role compared to a private practice one?

    Being an in-house lawyer allows legal professionals to acquire knowledge in a larger range of legal issues than in private practice. In-house lawyers are often expected to be able to provide advice on a range of legal issues affecting the business, and this requires in-house lawyers to expand their knowledge outside of their original expertise. This aspect of being an in-house lawyer is perfect for lawyers who want to continue to expand their knowledge in various legal fields and for lawyers who want to have an impact on the business decision of their company. Conversely, a lawyer who prefers to stay within their field of expertise will not like being an in-house lawyer.