Top 10 stories for in-house lawyers in 2020
In what has been a roller-coaster year for corporate legal professionals, readers have been most attuned to bread and butter content: salaries, workplace and wellness issues, and collaboration with external providers.
An op-ed penned by Lawrence Lau, in-house counsel of Lawyers Weekly’s parent company, Momentum Media, delves into the myriad challenges that will face legal counsel day in, day out, and offers practical guidance for those aspiring to such roles as to how best to manage the workload.
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During the height of this year’s bushfire season, Lawyers Weekly spoke with in-house lawyer and NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer Karina Veling about the importance of such community work, and how it has provided her with unique insights into her duties as a corporate lawyer and the obligations incumbent upon such professionals to serve the community around them.
In the Winter 2020 edition of the Lawyers Weekly magazine, four general counsel from across the country reflected on the acceleration of influence that legal departments are having in businesses and organisations of all stripes, and how best those departments can adapt to such changing demands and responsibilities. Moreover, the quartet spoke about the inherent challenges with such a new environment and offered advice to thrive in the post-pandemic world.
In this exclusive interview, American Express Australia vice-president and head of legal Ryan Rayfield gave his perspective on how best general counsel can go above and beyond their prescribed duties, arguing that while there will always be a need for “fire drilling”, most of what GCs do should be proactive.
In another feature from this year, Keypoint Law chief executive Warren Kalinko and director of corporate development Kim Adey, together with beaton executive chairman George Beaton, surmised that corporate counsel currently have “choice and buying power” when it comes to deciding which firms to procure legal services from, with certain matters going towards “challenger firms” in an evolving marketplace.
In the first episode of The Corporate Counsel Show for this year, non-executive director and senior in-house counsel Claire Bibby outlined her predictions for corporate lawyers for the 12 months that have just passed. Whilst the pandemic subsequently dominated the professional landscape, her predictions – particularly about climate change liability risk – remain pertinent and cannot be ignored. To listen to the full conversation with Ms Bibby, click here.
It is essential, Temple & Webster head of legal Jessie Porteus argued in another episode from The Corporate Counsel Show earlier this year, that legal departments ensure that new lawyers in the team are effectively onboarded so they are best placed to meaningfully contribute to the needs of the business or organisation. To listen to the full conversation with Ms Porteus, click here.
In September, global legal, risk and compliance recruitment consultancy firm Taylor Root has released its 2020-21 Salary Guide & Market Report for the Corporate and Commercial industry sectors in Australia, which detailed the “numerous scenarios” that businesses are currently planning in the corporate and commercial sectors, having impacts on roles including but not limited to GC, company secretary and junior legal counsel.
Being a perfectionist is something that Megaport senior legal counsel Melissa Scott knows all about, having seen it seep into all aspects of her life in years past. Too many lawyers, she mused on The Corporate Counsel Show, are plagued by a need to be the best at everything. Managing this trait, she argued, is essential both for professional success and personal wellbeing. To listen to the full conversation with Ms Scott, click here.
The most-read story pertaining to in-house lawyers in 2020 also emerged from a Taylor Root report, this time its 2020-21 Salary Guide & Market Report for the Banking & Financial Services Legal sector in Australia. The age of coronavirus, the report mused, served to highlight the “inextricable importance” of the corporate counsel function, something that private practice lawyers in banking and finance may soon take into account when considering their vocational futures.