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week LexisNexis facilitated a forum for Chief Legal Officers which focused on two key issues faced by those who manage legal operations: how to manage a global legal team and how to retain talent in a flat structure.
Communication is the key to a cohesive and high performing legal team
There was all round agreement that ensuring effective collaboration and a consistent level of service across locations is a key priority for legal teams. Having managed legal teams spread across the world the forum members shared their insight on how
to manage a global team:
Whilst, weekly meetings for regional leads and direct reports were found to be effective in ensuring consistency, when it comes to global meetings with the wider team the experience of the forum participants was that monthly calls are more effective.
When teams are spread over different continents having a regular connection with the US, Europe and Asia is difficult - inevitably the US teams will need to have the meeting early in the morning and Asia teams late in the evening.This
issue, combined with the typical laissez-faire nature of weekly meetings, meant that weekly meetings for the wider global team resulted in lost engagement.
The experience is that it is much better practice to have less frequent (typically monthly) meetings which have a tighter agenda and a defined purpose. In addition, engagement can be increased by structuring the meetings so that they are hosted
and chaired by different teams each time.
Sometimes there can be a generational / cultural barrier to keeping connected through technology and often it is necessary to have top down encouragement of posting and commenting on these sites in order to make others feel more at ease.
Again, shared databases are very valuable and consistency of service can be ensured by having a database of standard precedents and information on international issues. Internet sources such as LexisNexis PSL and Freshfields were also found to
be helpful and useful for getting international content and being aware of issues.
How to manage and retain talent in a flat structure
Working in-house is very different to private practice, especially in relation to career progression and it can often come as a shock to lawyers that reaching a certain level of experience does not automatically qualify you for a promotion - in most cases
there needs to be a vacancy in the legal team in order for a promotion to take place. The experience has been that this can lead to frustration within the team and for talented people to leave the organisation. The key solutions that came out of the
We would love to hear about your experiences and of any other successful ways of bringing a global team together / retaining talent in a flat structure. Please get in touch and share your insight in the comments box below.
Our next Chief Legal Officers Forum will take place on 13 July 2016. For any queries or to express an interesting the network please email Sophie.firstname.lastname@example.org
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