The expert view: General Counsels share their top tips for career success

The expert view: General Counsels share their top tips for career success

The LexisNexis Aspire networking and professional group met on Wednesday 28th November 2018 for a Q&A panel session with:

  • Joanne Wright, Operations Director & Legal Counsel at Carriera Limited
  • Chris Fowler, General Counsel BT Technology & Transformation at BT
  • Perry Noble, Non-Executive Director, Long Harbour Investments
  • Denise Jagger, Former ADSA GC, Partner Eversheds Sutherland LLP and Portfolio Non-Executive Director.

They shared sage advice from their personal experiences and top tips to help junior in-house lawyers shape a successful career. 

Q: When under pressure, how do I best manage senior stakeholders demanding quick answers?

A: Chris advised the group that the key is to put the business first (rather than the law), and to make any answer relevant. Rather that starting with the legal position, it might be helpful to first identify the precise problem, and offer a solution.

In-house lawyers need to learn to be quick and succinct, and their communications must be relevant and meaningful if they are going to successfully engage senior stakeholders. Humour can be a useful tool, if deployed appropriately.

Q: What messages should I be articulating in my CV?

A: Joanne provided three factors to consider:

  1. What’s your proposition, personal brand or unique selling point? Beyond that, you’re only as good as the information you provide, so sometimes you might need to reach out and start a conversation to communicate things that won’t be in your CV (eg if you are seeking to change sector.
  2. Do your due diligence on your target audience – make sure you understand the organisation and role you’re applying for, and if possible, identify the individuals you should be targeting. Link this to your proposition.
  3. Use your network to get your CV in front of the right people – there are lots of different platforms and wider connections that are available to you, so don’t rely on responding to individual ads.

Joanne indicated that a good rule of thumb for developing your CV is that if you have nothing new to add every six

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About the author:

Lauren Fairservice is a paralegal in the LexisPSL In-house, Compliance and Practice Management Group.

Prior to joining LexisNexis in May 2016, Lauren spent a year in-house at ClientEarth, helping to coordinate their climate litigation work and two years in the IP Litigation team at Bristows LLP. She holds the GDL and LPC, as well as an MSc in Environment & Development and a degree in Geography.