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Managing your career to General Counsel - Q&A Series

Georgia Morgan-Wynne | Nikki Newton Career Advice

The role of an in-house lawyer has changed considerably over the last decade. In-house lawyers are expected to offer much more than just straightforward legal advice: they must be able to think strategically and advise commercially, often on non-legal matters. For an ambitious lawyer looking to progress towards a General Counsel position, the route is not as clear as the path to partnership in private practice. However, lawyers who successfully navigate in-house moves, internally and externally, will experience great diversity in their careers and have fantastic opportunities both as a lawyer and as a business adviser.

As recruiters, we are often asked questions around career progression and throughout the last few months, this has remained at least one constant, despite wider market conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Taylor Root recently hosted a webinar on ‘Manging your career to General Counsel’ assembling the following panel to discuss how senior lawyers can successfully plan and progress their career, be proactive with their own brand and ultimately secure a General Counsel position:

  • Sherrill Taggart, General Counsel EMEA, Legal, Risk & Core Operations at FTI Consulting
  • Alexis Alexander, General Counsel at Liberis
  • Nick Havers, Chief Counsel, UK & Ireland at Marsh & McLennan
  • Adam Hirschovits, General Counsel and Commercial at Roald Dahl

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Below you can hear from each panellist on a question we posed to them during the webinar:

  • Sherrill Taggart - What soft skills do you need as a General Counsel?
 
  • Alexis Alexander - Has moving in-house early held you back?
 
  • Nick Havers - How do you navigate your career path and make the most of your current organisation?
 
  • Adam Hirschovits - How do I gain experience that I need for a future move that isn't available in my current organisation?
 
  • Watch the full webinar:
 
You can also download our ‘Managing your career to General Counsel’ brochure which features an additional Q&A with each of the panel on questions including:
 
  • Do you have “sponsors” or professional “mentors” and how did you find these?
  • If you got offered a General Counsel / Head of Legal role but you thought you weren’t ready for it yet, would you turn it down or just go for it?
  • Is moving through e.g. Senior Legal Counsel, Head of Legal, etc required to get to General Counsel? 
  • Does a lawyer not being UK qualified have an impact on General Counsel opportunities? Or is experience more important?
  • How does one get more management experience (needed for a General Counsel) given the flat structure in-house? 
  • Any advice for those starting out in their first in-house role? Things you wish you knew going in?