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Mark Lágler, General Counsel – Supply Chain and ETS, Unilever, describes Unilever’s practical approach to delivering global advice in-house.
So Mark, tell us a bit about your role.
My current role has involved building a new team that supports the legal services for our Supply Chain, Procurement and Enterprise Technology Solutions (Unilever’s Global Business Services) teams. There are 16 of us, based in the UK, US, Netherlands and Singapore, plus we provide guidance to many more local lawyers based with our businesses worldwide.
How did you approach building this new global team?
At Unilever we find it extremely important that legal teams reflect the global structures they support in the business, so one of the first things we thought about was how to encourage the lawyers within the team and those that we work with closely around the world to break out of their local silos. The business units we work with are focused on global excellence and creating efficiencies. As a team we need to echo that drive to share best practice, collaborate across borders and find the best ways of working.
We also wanted to make sure that we consistently brought the best skills to the table and were resourced to support the changing nature of the projects emerging from the new business unit. In part, we achieved this by recruiting lawyers with very particular expertise into the team, including an outsourcing specialist, a construction specialist, a logistics specialist etc. We also wanted to up-skill the lawyers already working in the team, so it was also really important to Unilever to create an atmosphere and a way of working where all the lawyers in the team are encouraged to share knowledge on an on-going basis.
To make this work in practice, we collaborate online, we ask our external law firm partners to share know-how and guidance with us online and we also run a calendar of training events around the world, which we either organise ourselves or are
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