find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
In-house lawyer 1-4 PAE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Leading Brand · Report to a Dynamic Legal Counsel
View details
Balance between risk and opportunity increasingly difficult

Balance between risk and opportunity increasingly difficult

Balance

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
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
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 & ...