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As I introduced in my last blog post, I have recently taken a secondment away from my General Counsel position to manage a team within our Go-to-Market function. One of the first challenges I found on leaving my comfortable old role and joining my new team was around leadership – precisely how do you lead a group of people who have vastly more experience than you in what they are doing? And by more, I mean any…
In this second post, I detail how this came about and the steps I have taken to make an impact.
Outside of sweeping generalisations on pedantry and a tendency towards being argumentative, one of the things that most lawyers have in common is the kudos inherent in the job. My wife might not agree: on the way to our first NCT class before our eldest son was born, she warned me not to tell anyone I was a lawyer. “Why?”, I asked. “Because no-one likes lawyers”, came the answer. What this says of her taste is concerning, though not something I have sought to clarify.
However, despite what my spouse might think, and notwithstanding the jokes (and/or truth) behind the sweeping generalisations – and without minimising the genuine challenges facing the profession – the law and those practicing it are still treated with a degree of respect that many other professions would cherish.
This has been demonstrated lately when I have been asked what I do. Before, I could say “I’m a lawyer” and that would be sufficient. People either understood what that meant or were at least comforted by the conformity of it. My new role, however, lacks a mot juste description – no-one knows what a Head of Customer Engagements does, much less is likely to be comforted by it. On top of that, I am yet to refine the elevator pitch on the importance of customer experience, objective decision making and supporting users through a change curve down to anything less than skyscraper levels.
The innate credibility of being a lawyer, especially after a few years of experience, goes ahead of you as you enter a room or join a meeting. While there is a still a long way to go before you earn people’s respect, you at least start from the point of appearing that you might know what you are talking about. Likewise, for the people that you manage (given the traditional hierarchical approach that the law tends to take), the chances are t
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Louisa leads marketing for the in-house legal community at LexisNexis. She joined the dedicated in-house team at LexisNexis four years ago and has a passion for driving and facilitating initiatives which are customer-focused at their heart. Her vision is to support in-house counsel succeed in their fast-evolving role based on deep insight, data analysis and best practice gathered across the in-house community.
Prior to her in-house focused role, Louisa led the marketing for the bar and mid-market private practice sectors as well as product marketing lead for LexisPSL – LexisNexis’ cloud based, practical guidance and legal research software solution.
She brings 20 years’ marketing experience both client and agency side, specialising in B2B marketing in the Legal, TMT (Telco, Media and Technology) and Financial Services industries. In both South Africa, Europe and the UK.
Louisa is also an active member on the LexisNexis Gender Equality Matters (GEM) steering committee and is involved with the Families at LexisNexis Group which brings together, supports and lobbies for change those with an interest in balancing the challenges of work and family.
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