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
Balance between risk and opportunity increasingly difficult

Balance between risk and opportunity increasingly difficult


As general counsel continue to wade deeper into the world of business, balancing risk and opportunity while meeting board expectations will be difficult, according to a new report.

KPMG’s third general counsel report, Through the looking glass: How corporate leaders view the General Counsel of today and tomorrow, reveals that the tension general counsel face between protecting their company and enabling value is only going to increase.

“As the GC ventures further into the realm of business, it will become harder to maintain this balance while meeting the expectations of the board,” the report read.

“The challenge is a matter of degree, requiring GCs to become ever more comfortable with the technical details relevant to their business and industry, as they take on positions of increasing influence, necessitating broad, incisive decision-making.”

KPMG’s previous two general counsel reports, in 2012 and 2014, were based on the views of general counsel themselves, whereas this year it interviewed 34 business leaders from around the world to see how corporate leaders from outside the legal function view the position.

While corporate leaders feel that general counsel are rising to the challenge of juggling risk and opportunity, there is a sense of urgency that general counsel should do even more to facilitate business growth.

“Companies need general counsel who will manage the legal function as a business that is integrated into the overall strategy of the enterprise,” said Phillip Ostwalt, KPMG advisory and investigations partner.

“Exceptional legal skills are a given; it is the other attributes that will help them to reinforce their business value.”

The report revealed the five main attributes that general counsel must embrace to succeed in the future.

Firstly they must be business leaders: “Providing insightful commercial advice to the other senior executives and the board, based on sound legal principles”.

Secondly, risk managers: “Being constantly alert to and vigilant against an increasingly broad array of global threats to the company, and handling them accordingly”.

Thirdly, technology champions: “Leading the change in mindset from technology as a standalone, isolated specialism to the all-pervasive reality of doing business in the digital age”.

Fourthly, key communicators: “Adeptly handling communications with key stakeholders such as the board and investors, as well as effectively communicating with regulators and internal teams”.

Lastly, builders of corporate culture: “Setting a tone of trust at the top and building a risk-aware culture in which compliance is not seen as a straitjacket, but as a source of competitive advantage”.

The business leaders interviewed also highlighted five key risks on which general counsel need to focus, being regulation, technology-related risks, reputation, contracts and litigation.

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

Balance between risk and opportunity increasingly difficult
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Oct 19 2017
‘Ego status’ compelled ex-lawyer to defraud $2.97m, court told
Debarred lawyer John Gordon Bradfield told an NSW District Court that he was driven by “ego status...
Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legislation,
Oct 19 2017
ALA welcomes ‘tough’ Qld manslaughter laws
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legisl...
Legal podcasts, tune in, microphone
Oct 19 2017
Legal podcasts you have to tune in to right now
The rise of the internet has hailed in a new dawn for storytelling. Here’s our top pick of podcast...
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 & ...