So you’ve taken a role as a sole in-house counsel, what next?

So you’ve taken a role as a sole in-house counsel, what next?

Last week, Halebury’s Linda Kabi shared her top tips to consider in a new role as sole in-house counsel within an organization. This week sees the second part to her blog and a further handful of useful tips and insight:

Introduce yourself and meet your clients

Send out an e mail to everyone to introduce yourself and set out your stall.  It could cover: this is who I am, what I have done, how experienced I am, this is what I am going to be doing, this is how we are going to work together, adding that all legal work is to come through me and please don’t instruct external lawyers without consulting me! The employees won’t necessarily be sure what your role is, even though it seems obvious to you.

On day one, get hold of an organisation chart from HR and fix to meet everyone who looks like they might be an internal client. Certainly all the Heads of Department should be on the list, HR, most of the procurement people and the sales staff too.

An agenda for these meetings might be:

  • who are the third parties your department deals with?
  • what contracts do we have with them?
  • please can I get hold of the original signed contracts (or at least a copy)?
  • do we have standard terms and conditions that we use? If so, please give me copies for review.
  • what negotiations with third parties are you in at the moment?
  • are there any problems with third parties?
  • any disputes?
  • what are the most pressing legal issues that you are experiencing?
  • are there any employee problems?
  • are there compliance or regulatory issues?
  • what’s gone wrong in the past that I can fix now or prevent happening in the future?
  • anything else that is concerning you about your work or the business?
  • which, if any, law firms are you using?

The information you receive at these meetings will enable you to start to plan your objectives for your first year in the role.

Find the agreements

An organisation that hasn’t had an in-house lawyer before is unlikely to have a central repository of signed agreements.  Naturally you’ll put out an e mail asking for signed agreements to be sent to you but don&rs

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About the author:
Linda Kabi is a highly experienced telecoms, IT and commercial lawyer and consultant with NewLaw firm Halebury. She has 30 years’ experience working primarily in the international telecoms industry, having previously acted as GC at Nowtel. Linda has also worked as a senior lawyer in high-profile tech companies including BT, Inmarsat, Hutchison 3G and Vodafone.

Follow Linda on Twitter on @lindakabi