The diverse needs of in-house lawyers must be addressed in order to effectively equip them to meet the pressures of their work, said Trish Hyde, the new CEO of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association.
Speaking recently with Lawyers Weekly, Hyde said that while ACLA currently represents 30 per cent of the in-house legal market, she hopes to see the association significantly grow under her tenure and branch out to meet the differing needs of members.
"There are very different needs a general counsel has compared to a first-time in-house lawyer," said Hyde.
And with the role of in-house lawyers constantly evolving, Hyde noted the added pressures such lawyers now face.
"The workplace has high expectations on in-house, but not every in-house role is the same. If you're in a government organisation, it's different to being in a large corporate team or working solo."
Hyde said that as well as assisting in-house lawyers in meeting such challenges in the future, ACLA will also explore how legal departments can prove their value to their organisations.
"The amount of dollars spent is not the driver. You can spend dollars inefficiently. But what is your performance measure and how do you drive value and be part of the business approach?" said Hyde.
"You need to be part of the strategic direction and adding value so much so that people can say 'we can cut marketing spend but we really need our legal team'."
Although Hyde does not have a legal background, she brings a wealth of marketing and communications experience to the role.
"Sometimes coming in from the outside, you can bring a different perspective," she said.
Hyde takes over as CEO from Peter Turner, who she said has established some solid foundations for taking ACLA forward.