Top tips on managing risk for junior in-house lawyers

Top tips on managing risk for junior in-house lawyers

The LexisNexis Aspire networking and professional forum met on Tuesday 20 March 2018. Hosted by Sophie Gould, Head of in-house, LexisNexis, this session looked at how to assess and manage risk, what is executive presence and an interactive Q&A session.

Aspire meets 4 times a year and provides a free networking service which is a key life line to many starting out in their in-house legal career.

In this, the first of three blog posts in the series, we share key learning outcomes looking first at the critical skill of how to safeguard your organisation from risk.

How to understand, assess and manage risk

Emma Dickin is an In-house, Risk and Compliance specialist at LexisNexis.

Anything that could interfere with your organisation’s objectives is a business risk. It’s impossible to avoid risk completely as businesses need to take risks to succeed.

In-house lawyers are often tasked with the management of risk. Emma explained this process using the risk cycle, which covers the six core elements of ongoing risk management:

  • Establishing your organisation’s risk appetite
  • Gathering risk information from internal stakeholders
  • Reviewing available information to identify risks
  • Evaluating and recording risks
  • Managing risks
  • Ongoing review and dialogue with stakeholders

Your first step will be establishing the risks your business will be prepared to accept. This is your ‘risk appetite’, and something that is very specific to your business. Your business may have a very high appetite for certain risks, and a low appetite for others (such as regulatory risks).

Emma introduced a precedent risk questionnaire, which you can use to gather information from your colleagues to build a clear picture of the risks your business faces. You could also conduct internal interviews, which have the added bonus of boosting your internal network.

The group looked at some big risk areas; information security, data protection, the new offence of failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion, bribery and corruption, and modern slavery.  All of these pose considerable risks to business in the form of fines, tendering restrictions, reputation and interruptions in the supply chain.

Once you’ve established what risks you’re dealing with, you can use a variety of different tools to analyse and monitor these risks. You can then choose to accept, transfer, mitigate or avoid those risks.

Once you’ve made these decisions, you need to keep them under review. Your business will be subject to different risks at different times, all the time. Risk management is a continuous process.

Join Aspire today

Aspire is free to join and open to all in-house lawyers in the early stages of their legal career. If you wish to be informed about future Aspire events please register your interest here.

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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.