The emerging GC – shrouded in the vague

Do you ever get the feeling you’re flying blind as a general counsel? Not in the context of your own business, which will generate reams of numbers and facts to indicate how the legal function is performing within that one company. But in the context of how GCs and legal teams are developing at a wider level, profession-wide and within industry sectors, the question stands.

Leader |

Do you ever get the feeling you’re flying blind as a general counsel? Not in the context of your own business, which will generate reams of numbers and facts to indicate how the legal function is performing within that one company. But in the context of how GCs and legal teams are developing at a wider level, profession-wide and within industry sectors, the question stands.

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Significant matters – Winter 2016/17

Agenda |

Energy giant pushes through alt billing

The march away from hourly billing continues as Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s largest consumers of legal services, confirmed that all its work must be priced under ‘appropriate’ fee arrangements (AFAs), following its 2016 panel review. AFAs, which include capped, fixed and contingency fees, had been in place for all litigation work since June 2014, but now apply to all legal matters. In addition, every piece of work will be put out to tender to three or more panel firms. The shake-up was overseen by associate general counsel for global litigation, strategy and co-ordination Gordon McCue, who led Shell’s overall panel review.

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Author(s)

  • The In-House Lawyer, , The In-House Lawyer

What do we expect from general counsel?

Comment |

Paul Gilbert attempts to chart what is so rarely discussed: the core competences and obligations of a general counsel.

At the risk of saying something that sounds unhelpfully like, ‘general counsel means general counsel’, I have spent a lot of time over many years considering how people in this role should define their purpose and articulate their contribution.

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‘Crisis accumulates for years’ – a fascinating insight into the roots of risk

Comment |

Stefan Stern assesses a new book on how institutional weaknesses let corporate risk wreak havoc.

If you found the events of 2016 unsettling you may wish to look away now. For the foreseeable future. Brexit means Brexit, apparently, but no-one seems able to provide much more detail than that as yet. A new US president unlike any most of us have ever seen is starting a four-year term in the White House. World War Three could break out at any moment, on Twitter.

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Author(s)

  • Stefan Stern, The Financial Times / Cass Business School, The In-House Lawyer

    The Financial Times / Cass Business School

Profile: Margaret Cole, PwC UK

Once the chief enforcer for the City, the PwC UK general counsel discusses breaking balls and finding a silver lining to the financial crisis

Profile |

Margaret Cole, PwC‘I would never have taken a role where I wasn’t sitting at the top table. I make sure I have influence in how a firm goes about things,’ notes veteran litigator Margaret Cole, PwC’s UK general counsel and chief risk officer. [Continue Reading]

Profile: Herminia Ibarra, INSEAD

Business school professor Herminia Ibarra has become a trail-blazing thinker on leadership. We ask how her work can be applied to general counsel

Profile |

Herminia Ibarra, INSEAD Catherine McGregor: Lawyers get very focused on their professional qualifications, but as they rise through the ranks – particularly to the general counsel position – their role becomes increasingly focused on management. A common concern we hear is that they feel ill-equipped to deal with this shift. There can also be a desire not to let go of being a lawyer. What practical measures would you suggest to help balance these conflicting desires? [Continue Reading]

Profile: Piers Le Marchant, JPMorgan Chase & Co

The global investment bank’s chief compliance officer discusses his storied career and the joys of handling a crisis

Profile |

Pierre Le Marchant, JPMorgan Chase & Co‘The fantastic, wonderful part about being in-house is working with massively stimulating people. There’s this misconception that you outsource talent. You don’t.’ So says Piers Le Marchant, chief compliance officer for corporate and investment banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co. [Continue Reading]

A buyers’ market

The trend for reduced panels has seen law firms put through their paces by clients eager to drive innovation and control spend. The In-House Lawyer reviews the reviews.

Adviser reviews |

In-house teams may have grown in size and stature over recent years, but their external adviser panels are definitely shrinking. As a result, law firms find themselves increasingly at the sharp end during adviser reviews (see box ‘Cutting back’, below), with clients pushing for better rates, greater efficiencies and added extras.

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A private function

Working under the radar, in-house lawyers in the fast-paced world of private equity operate in a unique environment.

Analysis |

Unlike their private practice counterparts, in-house private equity (PE) lawyers prefer a low profile. Or, as one private practice partner puts it: ‘PE is a murky, sharp-elbowed world. In-house lawyers like to stay out of the limelight.’ [Continue Reading]

Northern Lights

Outside the limelight of London’s legal community, Scotland’s GCs toil in low profile. The In-House Lawyer assesses the talent north of the border

Scotland |

The professional life of a public company general counsel in Scotland can feel isolated at times. As a member of a small club, opportunities to plug into the professional networks that their peers in the South East of England take for granted can be limited. ‘We do get a sense sometimes that we are a decreasing community!’ confesses Christopher Morgan, GC and company secretary at Glasgow-based engineering plc Weir Group. ‘Certainly the number of Scottish-based plc GCs is thin on the ground and
it’s dwindling.’

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