Leading Beyond Law: The changing role of General Counsel

Author Sarah Ingwersen
September 25, 2023

Taylor Root recently attended an insightful and entertaining panel discussion at The Legal 500 (Legalease) GC Summit Netherlands 2023. The ‘Leading Beyond Law: The Changing role of General Counsel consisted of two very engaging General Counsel panelists; Olga Prokopovych & Mischa Menheere who shared with us the following key takeaways.

  • The best place for a General Counsel to hear information is at the coffee machine! If you only work from home and don’t regularly meet your colleagues face-to-face, it can be very difficult to build the necessary relationships and do your job effectively
  • Create a ‘video on’ policy to maintain engagement with colleagues and team members
  • Communication is key. If you are working in a hybrid environment, carve out time to listen to the challenges (both professional and personal) that your team members may be experiencing
  • If your ambition is to manage the board, ensure that you can handle the juggling act! To absorb the plethora of new topics that you need to cover (ESG, trade sanctions, compliance, etc.) you need to create structure in the process & have the infrastructure to support
  • If you don’t already have it, work with your IT team to build a tech platform to funnel all legal requests through one channel. This way- you can track the data (example, if the type and regularity of requests, whether you need precedents or templates created) and work out where you can apply automation. This will help eliminate tasks you don’t want to concentrate on so that you can free up time for strategic advice to the C-suite
  • If creating an IT tool, look at the processes and what can be done more efficiently. For example, if your C-suite don’t have capacity to read time-critical contracts at execution stage, create a contract briefing form for every contract that sets out the headline terms (filled in by sales and legal team). Make it a policy that this is provided for every contract
  • Create strategic milestones for the year and divide into projects per quarter. Focus on being target-oriented as opposed to project oriented. Focus on the things that are important to your stakeholders, as opposed to being driven by the lower level, routine matters (that can be outsourced or automated)
  • Legal operations are crucial to the role of General Counsel to ensure that the work gets done efficiently. Legal operations specialists are not always lawyers; look at what skill set will add value and put that into your infrastructure. People with very good IT or administrative skills can be extremely effectively legal operations professionals

Taylor Root’s Amsterdam office were extremely proud to sponsor this conference and we were certainly impressed with the calibre of General Counsel delegates and panelists that consisted of; Sara LieskerMaurits FornierIanis GirgensonSabine SchouteThijs ElsemanKlaas WagenaarSteven Geers and Allan Cohen.

If you would like to discuss any of the topics from the conference, your career or hiring needs, do not hesitate in contacting a member of our team based in the Netherlands: Tobias HerweijerLili Copping & Marta Borzym and Rachael Crocker.

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