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Paul Gilbert, Chief Executive from LBC Wise Counsel summarises the 19th LBCambridge programme, supported by LexisNexis that took place last month, involving nearly 60 people, delegates, mentors and presenters. This acclaimed initiative
was established in 2006 by LBC Wise Counsel as a residential skills development programme for in-house lawyers to debate, challenge and share in a highly interactive environment. Here is an overview from the three day course.
What was fascinating to me was just how much the conversation was focussed on understanding our value. However unlike other conversations this was not about benchmarked metrics or what makes a good lawyer; it was about seeing value as a product of having
a clearly defined purpose.
In essence, if our purpose is understood, agreed and wanted, then if we deliver against that purpose we will be valuable.
The in-house legal functions in most organisations reveal a number of consistent traits; they are typically hardworking, empathetic, thoughtful, problem solving and very willing to be involved and to help. Obviously none of this is bad, but it comes with
a price to pay.
If legal teams behave like work sponges, soaking up activity and appearing willing to do everything or anything if asked, then it is obvious that before too long the team will become overloaded. In effect teams fill up to the point when they struggle
to cope, and are then left with only two safety valves – either to recruit or to outsource. In this context neither solution can be seen as a strategic move; there are steps that operationally expedient, but only because of a failure to address
the root causes.
It is why I believe many teams struggle to get their voice heard on their resourcing needs. All executive managers tend to see is a willing, hardworking team that is struggling with volume, they do not see a well planned, well balanced or strategic approach.
Fundamentally the issue goes back to our training in law firms.
The key difference between a lawyer in a law firm and a lawyer in an in-house team is that the former is successful when they
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Paul is Chief Executive at LBC Wise Counsel, a business he founded in 2000 working predominantly with in-house legal teams and General Counsel around the world.
His focus is on impactful one-to-one mentoring, career counselling, supporting the strategic purpose and operational efficiency of in-house teams, and on designing and delivering residential skills development and leadership programmes.
Clients include international energy conglomerates, global life sciences teams and major banks, as well as a range of FTSE and smaller UK teams. He has designed career development programmes, mentored General Counsel and supported over 100 law firm panel appointment processes.
Before LBC Wise Counsel, Paul qualified as a solicitor in the UK in 1987 and was an in-house lawyer for 12 years including as General Counsel to two UK financial services companies.
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