Understanding the business: how in-house lawyers can add value

Understanding  the business: how in-house lawyers can add value

Jeremy Berenzweig, Deputy General Counsel at Cummins, explores why lawyers need to thoroughly understand their business in order to add the value that will contribute to its success.

Tell us a bit about your background and the business…

Cummins is a global manufacturer of diesel engines, generator sets and related technology. When I joined Cummins more than 11 years ago, sales were about $6 billion in sales and this year the target is to exceed $19 billion. I am Deputy General Counsel for our four business units. We have 60 lawyers around the world and we all report to the General Counsel. Key for us is that we think of ourselves as one team. At the end of the day, if we’re not there to help each other, then we’re not there to help the business.

I became a lawyer because I believe in fairness and justice. I also love international business - so working in-house is the perfect combination for me especially at Cummins, because it has amazing values. Our former chairman marched with Martin Luther King to Washington; he took us into India in the 60s and China in the 70s. He believed that diversity was not just the right thing to do, but also that it was great for business. We’ve got this really long legacy and as we grow we don’t want to lose that. I think if you ask most of the leaders in the business why they joined Cummins, it’s because of the values.

What do you see as the role of the in-house lawyer?

The most important first step is to think of yourself as part of the business. Yes lawyers have a specialism, but we’re the same as every other employee – we’re trying to help the business be successful. The only way

Subscription Form

Already a subscriber? Login
RELX (UK) Limited, trading as LexisNexis, and our LexisNexis Legal & Professional group companies will contact you to confirm your email address. You can manage your communication preferences via our Preference Centre. You can learn more about how we handle your personal data and your rights by reviewing our  Privacy Policy.

Related Articles:
Latest Articles:

Access this article and thousands of others like it free by subscribing to our blog.

Read full article

Already a subscriber? Login

About the author:

Sophie is Head of Learning & Development at F-LEX Legal - an award winning legal tech startup helping law firms and organisations manage a flexible work force and supporting lawyers to make smarter life/work choices. 

As part of her portfolio career Sophie runs various learning and development and networking forums for in-house lawyers and mentors junior lawyers.  These include Flying Solo for small and solo legal teams and Aspire for junior in-house lawyers which she runs for LexisNexis UK.  She also works with schools and organisations to promote social mobility within the legal profession, working with The Social Mobility Business Partnership and Aspiring Solicitors. 

She trained as a lawyer in the City and worked as an in-house lawyer for 10 years including as Head of Legal for Virgin Radio and Ginger Media Group.  

Outside of work she is happily married with three sons and enjoys morning walks along the beach with her two dogs.