find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Q&A: Trent Czinner

Q&A: Trent Czinner

The general counsel at Vodafone Australia, Trent Czinner, provides insight into his role and the telecommunications industry.

How did you come to be GC of Vodafone Australia and what advice can you offer to aspiring in-house lawyers?

I spent the last 16 years working in-house for Australian and UK mobile companies, and for, a US provider of cloud-based CRM services. The GC role at Vodafone Australia became available at a time when I had the right mix of skills and experience to take on the role.

I worked for business units that were well funded but in start-up mode and the legal counsel needed to be hands on. In developing these completely new business models, the lawyers did a lot of work that was not strictly providing legal services. That level of exposure to the wider business helped me understand the basics. Choosing to do an MBA early in my career was also really beneficial.

The GC focuses on strategic issues and projects and helps solve business problems, so building the right skills is important. My advice is to take on projects, seek out experience in different areas of the legal team or the business (and globally if you can), find mentors and learn from them, manage a team, consider doing extra study and be solution-oriented. Your employers will remember you for being pragmatic and getting things done, and that reputation will follow you.

The role of a GC can be diverse and multifaceted. In light of the James Hardie decision, how does your GC role fit in within the business?

At Vodafone Australia the GC reports to the CEO, runs the legal function and advises the executive team on legal risks. The company secretary role is separate.

The challenge for all in-house lawyers is to find a balance between remaining independent and providing advice that is in the commercial interests of your employer. Fortunately, I don’t have to consider ethical issues often, but you need to be on the lookout and make sure you take the proper steps to protect the company and your position when they arise.

What do you consider to be the main challenges in your industry sector for the year ahead?

Mobile services are always evolving and the demand for mobile data services is growing exponentially. For mobile operators, a key challenge is building and evolving the network infrastructure ahead of customer demand. For us, that means continued focus on the 4G network rollout while we add to the huge network expansion of our 3G and 3G+ networks.

Data charges were an issue across the industry last year, driven by prolific growth in the use of smartphones. The challenge is to keep innovating so we do the right thing by our customers as we see changes in usage. Mobile operators are focused on this now and Vodafone will concentrate on developing new fair pricing as well as providing tools to help our customers manage spend.

Competition and regulatory issues are a constant in the mobile industry and will continue to be so in 2014 and beyond. The NBN also comes with a host of strategic and regulatory issues for all telecommunications operators.

Copy and logo supplied by JLegal. For more information visit:


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Q&A: Trent Czinner
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...