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
Real Estate & Projects Lawyer (6+ years PAE)
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Top tier firm with offices nationally · High profile clients
View details
Helen Conway, General counsel of Caltex

Helen Conway, General counsel of Caltex

Helen Conway has a few balls to juggle in her role at Caltex - she is the petrol producer and retailer's general counsel, company secretary and the general manager of the office of the CEO.So…

Helen Conway has a few balls to juggle in her role at Caltex - she is the petrol producer and retailer's general counsel, company secretary and the general manager of the office of the CEO.

So it's not surprising that she lists the key challenge of her role, and for her team of 11 lawyers, as "managing workload". "We try and ensure our lawyers have a reasonable work/family balance and we strive to be flexible in our work practices," she says, adding that she believes corporate departments are generally better equipped to offer flexible working arrangements than private sector law firms.

Prior to moving into the corporate space, Conway had built up a successful career in private practice. She had amassed 10 years of experience, including seven years as a partner, and she also held a role as a senior judicial member of the NSW Equal Opportunity Tribunal. But by 1989 she was ready for a new challenge, so she jumped ship to the in-house space.

Once immersed in the corporate world, Conway spent a decade testing the waters in organisations spanning a range of industries, including insurance and financial services. Then in 1999 the position at Caltex came up and she's been there ever since, and along the way, picked up ACLA's Corporate Lawyer of the Year award in 2005.

It's now 20 years since Conway left private practice, and she knows she made the right choice, saying that the highlight of working in-house is the excitement of being in the midst of where the commercial decision-making takes place: "In-house practice offers you the opportunity to be where the action is. It's extremely interesting and energising," she says.

One aspect of her current role at Caltex that she particularly enjoys is her involvement in strategic decision-making - an opportunity which has come about through the various other roles she's taken on outside the legal division. "In my particular case, in-house practice has offered me the opportunity to be part of the executive team and undertake a boarder portfolio of responsibilities. It's been a wonderful experience," she says.

For example, in her role as general manager of the office of the CEO, Conway has overall responsibility for legal services, corporate governance, government affairs, media, branding, communications and internal audit - not a position to take lightly, particularly in a high-profile company in a tightly scrutinised industry.

But for Conway, this is all part of the appeal: "Caltex operates in a complex and highly visible industry and the work we do is diverse and challenging, [so] there's never a dull moment," she says.

>> 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

Helen Conway, General counsel of Caltex
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
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...
Aug 21 2017
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
Aug 21 2017
Top-tier offers targeted mentoring for Indigenous law students
Students at Macquarie University will be the first to benefit from a new Indigenous mentoring progra...
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 & ...