Osama Hussain – GC Powerlist
Benelux 2022

Informatiion Technology

Osama Hussain

General counsel | Irdeto

    Team size: 12

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

    General counsel and their teams are tasked with significant responsibility across the organisation, including the broad goal of instituting frameworks for enterprise risk management. They steward their company through disruptions and business model changes by developing frameworks that are robust and responsive.

    The Covid pandemic significantly tested these frameworks and affected the work of in-house legal teams across all enterprises. It required businesses to abruptly shift their working models, speed up their digitalisation agenda across their customer markets and coincidentally, comply with a wave of new government initiatives and laws that aim to begin regulating the digital economy. These are all activities that in-house teams intimately support through real-time analysis and advice.

    These events unleashed significant deviations to previously routine operations. The most significant change encountered through the pandemic was the adaption to remote and hybrid workforce operating models. General counsel needed to proactively manage against potential scenarios, requiring the updating of corporate programs and policies, spending time fortifying legal operations, and connecting with in-house counsel communities to understand how others are managing similar challenges.

    How have you harnessed technology to improve output or drive efficiencies?

    My team and I are acutely focused on correlating a sizeable percentage of our work output towards our company’s strategic business objectives. To effectuate this outcome, we evaluated how we service each business unit as well as the entire enterprise and made space within each of our existing capacities to partner more closely with other colleagues across the organisation.

    If you had to give advice to an aspiring in-house lawyer or general counsel, what would it be and why?

    My advice to such individuals is to not view these roles as strictly legal functions, but instead as business managers tasked to create value for your enterprise, similar to other business units. It is crucial to both the company’s and the legal team’s success for in-house lawyers to develop strategies around providing added value to the business. I would advise legal team members to thoroughly learn about the enterprise and its markets, seek training beyond legal paradigms, align their priorities behind corporate objectives and become versed in corporate financial concepts.