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Paul Gilbert, Chief Executive of LBC Wise Counsel, the UK based specialist management and skills training consultancy for lawyers, discusses the rapid evolution taking place in how in-house counsel define roles and plan resource and why, in his opinion, this will be the biggest strategic challenge in-house teams will face in the next three years.
In this article, Paul looks at the importance of defining roles in the success of an in-house team. He compares the traditional model for resource planning with the increasing number of alternative resource options and provides his thoughts on the 4 things he would address if he were in the position of General Counsel today.
It is a constant challenge for all teams to be able to plan for the work that can be anticipated.
It is an even bigger challenge to plan for the work that cannot be anticipated.
For most teams there have been two ever present certainties in the last five years. 1) It is very hard to get more resource, especially headcount, but 2) there is more work, more risk and more need.
This in turn has resulted in the insidious “do more with less” environment. When legal and commercial risks have developed to be more real and more important to most businesses many teams are struggling to square the circle. It is no longer tenable to expect colleagues to work longer and longer hours. But against this background we risk failing to deliver the services needed, of missing opportunity and not realising the potential of the contribution teams can make. Critically we also risk a crisis of well-being.
Successful teams generate work. They do so not because they are inefficient or unfocussed, but because their increasing credibility and success encourage ever earlier engagement and a broadening of the contribution.
Ironically it is also true that unsuccessful teams generate more work; in their case because being inefficient and unfocussed ensures activity dominates over value. In
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Since joining LexisNexis in 2009 Sophie has worked on developing our legal and business content for the in-house legal community. She also runs various networking and mentoring groups for in-house lawyers and works with schools to promote social mobility within the legal profession.
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