6 keys ways to make a more telling contribution as an in-house lawyer

6 keys ways to make a more telling contribution as an in-house lawyer

Paul Gilbert, LBC Wise CounselThe 20th LBCambridge residential skills development programme for in-house lawyers – established in 2006 by LBC Wise Counsel - recently took place at Queen’s College, Cambridge.

The traditional opening keynote session on the first full day is designed around themes which the delegates identify as their most pressing issues.

Delegates are asked what is “top of mind” and then ideas are discussed, debated and distilled into the most pertinent themes, which were identified as:

  1. How should we measure and demonstrate our value?
  2. How do we influence to get a place at the table and permission to change things?
  3. How can we have career development in flat structures or small teams?
  4. How can we manage the expectation to do more with less?
  5. What is the personal transition to being a successful in-house lawyer?
  6. How should we step beyond the day-to-day and make a more telling contribution?

In this analysis, Paul Gilbert, Chief Executive, LBC Wise Counsel, explores these theme in more detail reflecting the presentation made to delegates at the LBCambridge programme.

1) How should we measure and demonstrate our value?

The mistake usually made is to think that metrics and measures can exist outside of a clear and specific purpose that is for your team and your business. It is as if there are generic measures of value that have universal application – a sort of Holy Grail of value measures.

Too often therefore lawyers hope that some form of benchmarking will do this and will reveal something useful. However my view is that benchmarking, for example, is at best a hindsight view of lowest common denominator indicators. It is therefore a mistake to invest in benchmarking to show value. True value requires three things:

  • An agreed strategy to deliver a particular result
  • A known baseline to measure from
  • An identified outcome from which to measure to

In the end, frankly, it is as simple as that. Once a purpose is identified then the measures to help show that this purpose has been

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About the author:
Paul leads many of LBC’s significant projects and lectures widely at events and conferences in the UK, Europe, North America and South Africa. Themes include legal services strategy, skills development and the changing face of the legal profession.


Paul qualified as a UK solicitor in 1987 and for much of his career he was an in-house lawyer. Paul was the General Counsel in two major UK financial services companies and held positions as chairman and chief executive of the national in-house lawyers Commerce & Industry Group. For six years Paul was a Council Member of the England & Wales Law Society and was elected to the Society’s Main Management Board. Until 2014 he was also Vice-Chairman and a Trustee of LawWorks, the UK’s national pro bono charity.

Paul is a successful author with six books and over one-hundred published articles in the UK, Europe, North America and South Africa