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Does your in-house legal team contribute to the success of a company?

“Lawyers and CEOs differ in assessing the contribution that the in-house legal team makes to a company.  In a recent survey nearly 40% of lawyers felt the in-house team made a very strong contribution last year.  Only 14% of CEOs felt the same”.

As part of BCL Legal’ s involvement with the in-house legal community we ran a ‘learning event’ with Grace Rothery, Head of Legal and Regulatory at Gazprom Energy.

Through Grace’s experience as an in-house lawyer, she conveyed to lawyers from a range of organisations including Co-op Bank, Manchester Airport and Odean/ UCI Cinemas what she has learnt and implemented at Gazprom.

Grace and her team must be doing something right as they have recently scored highest across 17 internal functions.

For Grace and her team the 3 key areas that they focus on are:

1)            Developing Trust

2)            Being Embedded and Aligned to the business

3)            Focusing on being a high performance team.

It was clear from listening to Grace that feedback is part of the infrastructure at Gazprom.  However, the discussion in the room was that not all organisations are set up like this and therefore, it can sometimes be hard to initiate a feedback process if this is not part of a company’s way of doing things.

The answer to this is to start small… with one simple question being asked to whomever the in-house lawyer has been working for internally: “Please feedback on your recent project/ matter, rating our performance 1-10 (you will need to define 1-10!)”.

No matter how big or small a project is, it is a great idea to gain this feedback and incorporate the feedback into your working process. This feedback can also be used at salary review time or possibly even when interviewing for a new role!

One other big picture exercise that Grace runs with her team once, twice or three times a year is to set a goal or task that can be completed by the individual lawyer within a certain time-period. Low performance and high performance is then defined – i.e. what does good/bad look like. Grace believes this gives clarity of task to everyone involved and provides an attainable goal for her and her team to strive to.

It was a great talk/discussion with the take away being that no matter how big or small the legal team is, you can start small and grow your influence by asking for feedback.

For more information, please contact Ruth Taylor at BCL Legal.

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