Effective communication: the difference between a good and a great in-house lawyer—an interview with Kent Dreadon
Effective communication: the difference between a good and a great in-house lawyer—an interview with Kent Dreadon

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

  • Effective communication: the difference between a good and a great in-house lawyer—an interview with Kent Dreadon
  • How important are communication skills for in-house lawyers?
  • What have you done to address communication training needs in the legal team?
  • Why do you think that lawyers in particular often struggle with their communication skills?
  • What will success look like in terms of your team’s communication skills?

Lawyers do not necessarily see presentation skills as fundamental to their job, yet they are judged on them by the rest of the business. We talk to Kent Dreadon, Deputy General Counsel and Head of Legal at Telefónica UK Limited, about effective communication skills and how they determine the impact and influence that in-house lawyers have in a business.

How important are communication skills for in-house lawyers?

The real difference between being a great in-house lawyer and being a good one is not your technical legal skills (albeit important they are a given), but your ability to communicate advice effectively in various scenarios.

For example, you bump into a director in the corridor and have just two minutes to get a steer on something: how do you make the best use of that time without bamboozling them or making a fool of yourself? You are in a leadership meeting listening to general chat: how do you earn respect as a leader when you have only got a tiny window to interject? In these scenarios, your communication needs to be short, sharp and clear. You need to present in an effective and interesting way so that you are not just a boring lawyer who makes everyone’s eyes roll.

More often than not, the whole perception of a person going forward is based around