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
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Senior family lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Family Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Outstanding national firm · High-calibre family law team
View details
Downturn challenges in-house counsel

Downturn challenges in-house counsel

IN-HOUSE LAWYERS will need to develop a multicultural outlook to succeed in the current climate, according to Fred Krebs, president of the Association of Corporate Counsel in the US.Krebs, along…

IN-HOUSE LAWYERS will need to develop a multicultural outlook to succeed in the current climate, according to Fred Krebs, president of the Association of Corporate Counsel in the US.

Krebs, along with Jean Claude Najar, general counsel for GE Commercial Finance in France, delivered this message as part of the international keynote address at the 2008 ACLA National Conference last week.

According to Krebs, as barriers to international business continue to fall, in-house lawyers are increasingly finding themselves working in global legal teams and they must be comfortable dealing with people from different cultures.

“Increasingly in-house counsel around the world faces the same issues and deals with the same concerns. We can all learn from each other and adapt the lessons to our own [legal] systems,” he said. “Judgement, credibility, courage and confidence are requisite requirements of in-house counsel anywhere in the world.”

Ideally, he said, the global in-house counsel will have knowledge of the business regulations in different countries, they will be multi-lingual and they will have experienced living overseas, and they will have this multicultural perspective “imbedded in their nature”.

Krebs then went on to discuss the particular challenges for in-house counsel around the world in the current economic climate, most notably the challenge to maintain independence.

During trying economic times, Krebs explained, in-house counsel will be under increasing scrutiny from the media and from internal management, and more than ever, CEO’s will look to their in-house counsel to be their “trusted advisor”. The advice given by in-house counsel during this tricky period, Krebs said, will be crucial to maintaining the business’s reputation.

“You must maintain your independence – don’t let the influence of the downward business trend stop you giving your best advice,” he said. “Whether or not your company maintains its reputation and brand will be a product of how you act during this time … you must continue to do good work [despite the] leaner resources available and pressure to reduce costs.”

Najar explained that in Europe, in-house counsel have traditionally not reported directly to the company CEO and have not been considered true business partners. He believes, however, that this is changing and that in-house lawyers are now making the transition from being the “paper-pushers of the boardroom” to being business partners, and he thinks the current economic situation will speed this process up.

He agreed with Krebs that in the current economic climate management will increasingly look to in-house counsel to assist with business decisions. The challenge for in-house counsel, he said, will be to maintain independence and give the best advice – even if it doesn’t bode well for the business – and at the same time help guide management through tough business decisions.

- By Zoe Lyon

>> For the latest news, views and analysis of issues affecting in-house lawyers, check out Lawyers Weekly's dedicated in-house site www.lawyersinhouse.com.au

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

Downturn challenges in-house counsel
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
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...
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 & ...