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GCs increasingly aided by legal operations staff

GCs increasingly aided by legal operations staff


Members of the ACC Australia GC100 have highlighted the growing trend of companies employing designated legal operations staff, allowing general counsel to focus more time on contributing to business strategy.

More than 30 members of the ACC Australia GC100, which was formed in May 2015, met in Melbourne last week to discuss key issues affecting the legal departments of ASX100 companies and trends in the in-house industry.

AMP group general counsel Brian Salter, who is the GC100 deputy chair, said there is a significant overhaul of the legal profession underway with in-house legal departments seeking alternative methods to support their legal practices.

“All in-house teams are constantly looking at better ways to operate and add value to the business,” Mr Salter said.

“By coming together and sharing our practices, we can seek to maximise the value of LPO providers and enhance the efficiency of our own operations.”

One of the ways in-house teams are boosting their efficiency is by employing designated legal operations staff whose role is to employ innovative strategies to reduce costs, use technology in new ways and restructure work flows. This allows GCs to focus more time on contributing to business strategy.

According to the ACC Chief Legal Officers 2016 Survey, the number of organisations globally with designated legal operations staff has doubled from the previous year to 48 per cent.

Other key areas discussed at the meeting included cyber security and what constitutes a reasonable corporate response, writing for boards, and emerging practices in legal insourcing and outsourcing.

Carmel Mulhern, Telstra group general counsel and GC100 chair, said: “It’s very important for us to have the opportunity as chief legal officers to get together and talk about the issues that are impacting us.”

She continued: “Given our roles in our respective companies, we are uniquely placed to see first-hand the impact of legislation and regulation on our businesses and to have an informed discussion with policy makers about this.”

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