find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
'Progressive' general counsel help bring in revenue

'Progressive' general counsel help bring in revenue

AnthonyWright

The core responsibility of a general counsel has always been to mitigate risk but increasingly in-house leaders are expected to look for money-making opportunities.

Mr Wright (pictured) is the founder and managing principal of Lexvoco, a business that recruits temporary lawyers for in-house teams.

“Lawyers are smart people, but often they become blinkered in their approach in protecting risk and saving legal costs,” Mr Wright told Lawyers Weekly.

He said that in-house lawyers are focused on preserving value, but often do not “think outside the square” when it comes to adding value.

The general counsel that are “ahead of their peers” are investigating how their legal team can align strategically with other functions within a business to generate revenue and improve cash flow, he said. 

“Those two things typically have not ever really been contemplated by in-house counsel,” said Mr Wright. “The most progressive in-house counsel are starting to think about this.”

In-house teams are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their commercial value, according to Mr Wright.

“It's not good enough for general counsel just to say, ‘we are doing our job because we are protecting the company from legal risk and we are saving money’,” he said. “That now just goes without saying. That is just par for the course.”

A focus on revenue is “what CEOs and COOs listen to”, he added. “It gives the in-house legal team a lot more credibility and goes to this concept of having a seat at the executive table."

Mr Wright used two of his clients as examples. The first, a large fast food chain, has a legal team that is finding ways to open stores faster by removing legal hurdles.

The second is a large gas company, which is streamlining legal processes in contracts to increase turnover.

“Every day that a contract is not signed, they are delaying the revenue,” said Mr Wright.

“So what the legal team is doing is [making] these contracts fairer and simpler so that customers will get them and sign them on the same day and [then the business] can start making money the next day.”

While new expectations are emerging for in-house teams, Mr Wright said it was important for lawyers not to lose sight of their main responsibilities.

“It is imperative that they don't forget their core job, and that is protecting and mitigating the company from legal risk,” he said.

Like this story? Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive Lawyers Weekly every day straight to your inbox.

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

'Progressive' general counsel help bring in revenue
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Jackie Rhodes
06:04
Report sheds light on LGBTQI inclusion in law firms
A recent report has revealed the varying perceptions on LGBTQI diversity and inclusion in the Austra...
Women in business
06:00
Annabel Crabb headlines Women in Business Forum
Political journalist Annabel Crabb has appeared at the Coleman Greig Lawyers Women in Business Forum...
Dec 11 2017
Warm welcome for new district court judges
Three practitioners who were appointed as district court judges in WA have been congratulated by ...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...