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Shortlisted for In-house Lawyer of the Year at The Lawyer’s 2016 awards, Monica Risam, GC & Company Secretary at Aviva UK Life, embodies the impact that strong leadership, drive and commitment to your team has on a business. We talk to Monica about the importance of training and support in building a confident team, encouraging leadership and raising the profile of lawyers.
I was in private practice for four and a half years before moving in-house. I spent seven years at GE Capital in various roles and then joined Aviva in 2011 as general counsel for Europe. Within a year of joining, the company was restructured and I became general counsel for Aviva Group.
In 2015, I became General Counsel and Company Secretary for Aviva UK Life which comprises 65% of the Aviva Group. It was a significant move for me and demanded a new skill set. I had just led the integration work stream for the legal function following a major acquisition. Suddenly I had a whole new team, including a lot of lawyers who had joined from the company we acquired.
When I started at Aviva there had never been a general counsel for Europe so my mission was to bring the function together and make sure we delivered
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