Delivering business excellence: the role of a legal operations director—an interview with Saswata Mukherjee
Delivering business excellence: the role of a legal operations director—an interview with Saswata Mukherjee

The following In House Advisor guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Delivering business excellence: the role of a legal operations director—an interview with Saswata Mukherjee
  • Tell us about your background and career history
  • What were the drivers for creating the role?
  • What does your role involve?
  • You mentioned contract life cycle technology—how did you gain the knowledge to enable you to unpick the needs of the business?
  • How did you develop your knowledge about the kind of technology you should be looking at or the evaluation questions you should be asking for your panel?
  • Do you think that all legal teams should have someone in your role?
  • If you were trying to build a business case for a role like yours, what are the key value areas you’d highlight to your board to say this is why the role is needed?
  • Would you ever go back to being a general counsel or will you continue in this role?

At a time of rapid change in the industry, lawyers’ roles are becoming increasingly innovative. We talk to Saswata Mukherjee, Global Legal Operations Director at Unilever, about the value an operations function can bring to the efficient and smooth running of a legal team.

Tell us about your background and career history

I started with Unilever 14 years ago and have since done multiple roles within the legal function. I first joined Unilever in India in legal business partnering roles across the country for sales and supply chain or factory-related issues. I then moved to Singapore for a supply chain transformation project involving countries in the Asia.

In Singapore, I moved to a corporate legal role and took over responsibility for championing competition law in Asia. When the general counsel for that region left, I briefly covered that position until the opportunity for Global Legal Operations Director in UK came up. It was a newly created role and so was a move out of the comfort zone of being a lawyer.

What were the drivers for creating the role?

When Ritva Sotamaa, our Chief Legal Officer (CLO) joined Unilever little over three years ago, she came with a vision of making the legal team 'world class' in everything we do. This not only meant lifting talent profile across the