find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
Simon Brookes, Deputy group general counsel at Telstra

Simon Brookes, Deputy group general counsel at Telstra

It's fair to say that Telstra has played a pretty significant role in shaping Simon Brookes' legal career. He has now worked in-house with Telstra for about eight years, and currently holds the…

It's fair to say that Telstra has played a pretty significant role in shaping Simon Brookes' legal career. He has now worked in-house with Telstra for about eight years, and currently holds the role of deputy group general counsel as well as general counsel of business units Telstra media and Telstra strategic marketing. However, Brookes' relationship with the telecommunications giant stretches back significantly further than that.

He launched his career at Mallesons Stephen Jaques in 1989, when Telstra (then Telecom Australia) was quickly emerging as an important client for the firm in the Melbourne office.

The telecommunications industry was developing rapidly, so it was an opportune time to get involved with the company. Key developments included the enactment of the Telecommunications Act 1991, which quickly expanded the industry through increased competition, the introduction of Telstra's mobile network, and later, the conversion to digital mobile technology.

"That's where it all started," says Brookes. "It was in the context of a rapidly developing industry coupled with interesting law. And I like things I can relate to - they're really interesting pieces of technology that literally changed the way that we live."

In 1994 Brookes moved across to work in-house in Telstra for a three-year stint, before returning to Mallesons in 1997 to work overseas. However, his ties with Telstra remained strong, and in 2001 he decided to move in-house for good.

With his three-pronged role, Brookes has both managerial and legal responsibilities. "What I try and do as [deputy group general counsel] is manage a lot of the day-to-day responsibilities within the group, so [group general counsel Will Irving] can have clean air to focus on the board and the CEO. So there's important responsibilities there - promotions, recruitment, pay, continuing legal education, systems, budgets - all those things necessary for the smooth operation of the group," he says.

On the legal side, Brookes' focus is the media and strategic marketing divisions, which involve the legal issue surrounding the supply of content and the promotion of the company's products and services. "So there's a lot of work there with regards to brands, sponsorships and advertising - a lot of [work] dealing with part 5 of the Trade Practices Act," he says.

Brookes says a highlight of working in-house is the level of direct engagement with the business. "I think that when you're in-house, you get a much more holistic view of what's going on. [You get] a better understanding of the business strategy and more constant engagement with senior management, rather than just sitting externally and perhaps opining on one particular aspect of a matter."

He points to the sheer volume of work as being one of the challenges of the role. "I think, as somebody once coined it, at times it can be like sipping from a fire hydrant," he laughs.

"At a law firm, lawyers are at the centre. Working in-house, lawyers are a support function. There's a large volume of work and you need to be able to meet client expectations with regard to turnaround time, but you also need to behave as a fiduciary, and make sure you're meeting your responsibilities as an independent practitioner."

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

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

Simon Brookes, Deputy group general counsel at Telstra
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 22 2017
‘Document tsunami’ driving lawyers to upskill in TAR
A prominent Victorian judge has highlighted the growing need for lawyers to expand their knowledge o...
Defamation expert appointed to lead Victorian Bar
Nov 22 2017
Defamation expert appointed to lead Victorian Bar
The Victorian Bar has named Dr Matt Collins QC as its new president, with an additional eight member...
Law Council of Australia
Nov 21 2017
LCA calls for urgent adoption of ‘game-changing’ recommendation
The Law Council of Australia has urged for the immediate adoption of a key recommendation put forwar...
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 & ...