Get ready to be more enterprising than ever

As we face another few weeks of inclement weather that has somehow seemed to drag on longer even than the usual UK winter, thoughts inevitably turn to sun loungers, warmth and sandy beaches. Alluring as a spring holiday seems right now, whatever you do, don’t book your getaway for the week including the 24th and 25th April.

It’s hard to believe that Enterprise GC is once more nearly upon us and that this will be the sixth year of Legalease’s marquee, two-day general counsel event at the Hilton London Syon Park. Anyone who has attended in past years will know that I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the only must-attend GC networking event of the calendar – more than 100 senior speakers and guests can’t be wrong.

While no two Enterprise GCs are ever the same, one thing is certain: each event is bigger, better and more business-critical than the last. Expect thought-provoking debates on the in-house counsel’s increasingly crucial role in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion; the rewards and pitfalls as Gen Z lawyers infiltrate the workplace; the future of the billable hour; the perennial and thorny question of legal tech; and a whole lot more.

But back to this, the winter edition of IHL. Our cover feature is a must-read for all of us grappling with the ever-pressing ESG (environmental, social and governance) landscape as enforcement and litigation risks loom large. Here we discuss the concerns in-house counsel need on their agenda this year and explain why you need to start shaping the conversation.

Elsewhere, we have our usual insightful Perspectives pieces, this time featuring two prominent individuals who were recognised for their outstanding contributions at the Legal Business Awards 2022.

Sharon Blackman, Citi’s managing director and general counsel tells of her continued elation at beating five other nominees to be named GC of the Year after being recognised for her committee work, not to mention her OBE in June 2021 for services to the financial services sector.

Apart from recounting a fascinating career that has seen her cut her teeth as an equity derivatives lawyer at Abbey National, Blackman engages on the importance of bringing up the junior lawyers around you so that they are equipped to deal with whatever might come their way.

Meanwhile Jelena Madir, general counsel of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which won the Most Transformative In-House Team award, retells a globetrotting, if occasionally fraught, career that thwarted a dream job in private practice at Shearman & Sterling when the bottom fell out of the market in 2008. Nevertheless, the reversal no doubt prepped her for the upheaval of being the GC of a vaccine company in 2020 and coping with being under-skilled and understaffed as a legal department supporting the production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines around the world.

Finally, this issue offers our usual incisive market reports, this time on the particularly topical issues of real estate and corporate crime. There’s a lot to unpack before we all get together again for Enterprise GC in April.