Another successful residential skills development programme by LBCambridge

Another successful residential skills development programme by LBCambridge

Another successful residential skills development programme by LBCambridge

Define your purpose to the business to really add value

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.

Managing your time

The key difference

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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