Interview with knowledge managers, Helen Barker from Diageo and Katharine Ward from Vodafone

Interview with knowledge managers, Helen Barker from Diageo and Katharine Ward from Vodafone

Lightbulb and brain representing power of knowledgeWhy does an in-house legal team need a knowledge manager?

How important is knowledge management to the smooth and efficient functioning of an in-house legal team? What value can a dedicated knowledge manager bring? We talk to two knowledge managers - Helen Barker from Diageo and Katharine Ward from Vodafone - about their roles and the benefits that their skills and expertise bring to the business.


Tell us about your background and your current role and team

Helen Barker: I’m counsel for knowledge management at Diageo. Diageo is a global company which sells a variety of premium drinks in more than 180 countries. The global legal team is approximately 250 strong, of which around 125 are lawyers. Our lawyers are based in 21 markets but this translates into many more jurisdictions. I am the only knowledge manager, I sit within the global legal team and my role is to support all of the lawyers globally, from the large well-equipped teams to the smaller, more remote teams with less resources.

I originally qualified into a commercial law firm department where I worked for a few years. After moving to a different part of the country, I worked as a professional support lawyer (PSL) for 18 months and then moved into my first in-house knowledge management role. I was there for over five years before moving to Diageo.

Katharine Ward: I’m legal knowledge manager for Vodafone. We are a multinational telecommunications company with 100,000 employees in around 30 different countries. We have around 400 professionals in our global legal team; 100 of these are group corporate services and the rest are based across our local markets.

I sit within the global central team. We have some large local teams, for example Germany and the UK, but there are also smaller

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About the author:
Sophie Gould is the Head of Lexis®PSL In-house. Sophie worked as an in-house lawyer for 10 years including seven years as Head of Legal for Virgin Radio and Ginger Media Group. She has also run a legal risk and compliance training business.


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.