Forward of her session at this yr’s In-house Counsel as Enterprise Companion in affiliation with EY convention, head of authorized operations and privateness at RBS Suzanne Rodway talks to The Lawyer in regards to the development of authorized operations, her function throughout the perform and the way the Huge 4 will rework authorized service supply.
The authorized operations function is rising inside Europe, how will this rework in-house authorized capabilities?
It’s going to assist the authorized perform begin pondering extra like a enterprise and fewer like a separate perform – and that can assist us align with the broader enterprise technique and ship larger worth. I feel it’s equal to legislation corporations needing COOs with specialist skillsets to assist them run a legislation agency, fairly than companions who haven’t any direct expertise of operating companies making an attempt to do it. Gone are the times of legislation corporations with the ability to stick their heads within the sand and say they’re totally different. The market is ripe for disruption and so that you want folks, each in legislation corporations and in-house capabilities, who can assist you navigate that and assist execute administration’s imaginative and prescient.
The place do you place your self throughout the authorized perform and the way do you handle your relationship with the overall counsel?
I work immediately for, and really intently with, the overall counsel, which I feel is the place it’s essential to be so as to have the ability to help the operation of the perform and impact change. Nonetheless, it’s the entire senior management of the in-house authorized perform that want to assist the overall counsel setting his/her imaginative and prescient and agreeing the priorities. It’s then the accountability of the authorized operations particular person/workforce to assist execute that.
Ought to all in-house capabilities have a authorized operations skilled?
Relies upon what you imply by ‘skilled’. Ought to all fairly sized in-house authorized capabilities have somebody chargeable for authorized operations – then sure. What background that particular person comes from and the talents they’ve I feel can differ significantly from organisation to organisation. I feel the authorized operations world is in its infancy, a minimum of within the UK and there’s no commonplace template for what a authorized operations lead seems like. We’re seeing legal professionals, COOs, challenge managers all stepping as much as tackle these roles.
How do you assume the Huge 4 will rework the authorized market throughout the subsequent 5 to 10 years?
I’m unsure they may rework it within the subsequent 5 to 10 years. Some are nonetheless determining their technique and others are working in a quasi-consultancy house. What they proceed to have the ability to actually take a lead on are giant transformation tasks ensuing from regulatory change, the place you want authorized expertise in addition to challenge and alter administration expertise. I feel transformation of the authorized market may come from elsewhere.
What’s a very powerful lesson you’ve discovered to date?
Take cost of your personal profession as a result of no-one else will. It will be good if we lived in a world the place you climb the ladder and transfer roles purely on advantage from doing a superb job in your current function, however that’s not often sufficient; particularly whenever you transfer in-house. So I feel folks have to take extra of a lead in managing their careers and be open to strikes that perhaps at first look appear a bit out of left subject – like a transfer into authorized operations. Agility and adaptability are going to be key expertise within the subsequent few years for legal professionals. So I might encourage legal professionals to benefit from any alternative they will get from secondments, making an attempt one thing new, taking part in professional bono actions and so forth. I feel having a mentor can actually assist you to with that, in any respect levels of your profession. I do know it has actually helped me.
The In-house Counsel as Enterprise Companion in affiliation with EY convention is being held on the Hilton London Tower Bridge Resort on the 5-6 November. Should you’d like extra data on the occasion, together with the complete agenda and speaker line-up in addition to how one can register to attend, please contact Kenan Balli on +44(zero) 20 7970 4017.