Richard Norman on his career, his involvement in the firm’s WIN initiative, Brexit and more
Richard, what’s your role at DLA Piper?
I am a partner in the Litigation team at global law firm DLA Piper. I am also the founder and lead international partner for the firm's "What In-house Lawyers Need" or WIN initiative, which won the 'Most Innovative Law Firm in Client Services’ award at the FT Innovative Lawyer Awards 2013.
As the founder and lead international partner, can you tell us a bit about the firm's WIN initiative?
WIN was created following consultation with the in-house world and the firm now has a community of 6000 in-house lawyers who attend events and training sessions, aimed at both future leaders and General Counsel. WIN is focussed exclusively on in-house lawyers and shaped by in-house lawyers. We have created a dedicated website (www.dlapiperwin.com), developed a programme for next generation GC aimed at Future Leaders and have an advanced GC Confidential programme. The whole ethos of WIN is to listen to our clients and then deliver what they really need! As such - at the heart of WIN is our client advisory committee.
What prompted its creation and how does it add value?
I realised that DLA Piper did so much for in-house lawyers but we had no brand and it was not organised centrally. As a litigator I thought of WIN, then thought What In-house Lawyers Need and then thought we can only legitimise WIN if we consult with clients on what they truly need. WIN has developed to be, in my personal view, the best initiative of the firm. The client testimonials we have are second to none and the beauty of WIN is that it is simply for the benefit of clients. The value of WIN to the in-house world is the practical training on a need to know basis and also the networking opportunities
What are the plans for it moving forward?
Moving forward - we are rolling WIN out globally having launched already in Australia, Dubai, and the USA. We intend to undertake an evolving training programme for our Future Leaders and ideally continue to innovate so we continue to retain and grow the firm's premier legal in-house community.
How long have you been at the firm?
I joined Dibb Lupton Broomhead in September 1994. I'm now 45 and have no plans to leave. The firm has looked after me and I've shared in the success of DLA Piper becoming one of the largest law firms in the word. I still have more to do at DLA Piper but it scares me when some of our potential trainees were now born after I joined!
What’s the most enjoyable aspect of your job?
As a litigator, there is no feeling like winning a case. As a partner in the firm, there is no bigger kick than winning a new client. The most enjoyable aspect however is building long term relationships with in-house lawyers who I like to consider as my friends. If you are the one that people call when they need help, there is no greater accolade. My proudest moment of course was winning the FT Award with WIN in October 2013 and giving an acceptance speech underneath the dinosaur at the National History Museum. My mum was very proud as well!
What are your personal career goals over the next five years?
I plan to continue to grow my client base, try and think of a few more litigation products (that clients want!) and seek further external recognition for WIN via a little more silverware (hopefully!!)
What makes DLA Piper a good firm to work at?
For me, it is because it's a meritocracy. Anyone, no matter what background you have, can achieve as the firm awards talent. Further it's a firm that has allowed me to explore some crazy innovative ideas - not all of which worked!!
What kinds of clients do you work with?
I work for many clients primarily focussed on dispute resolution in the tech and telecoms, manufacturing and pharma sectors. As my in-house clients have moved around so has my client base.
What trends/ issues are driving your work?
With the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the challenges facing most in-house teams to innovate and secure more for less - I have devised new services for clients including our litigation managed service where we will manage a client's disputes globally from a centralised location and a virtual secondment model where we provide overflow commercial disputes support. I have acted for clients for many years through a simple method of operation - secure the best commercial result for the client as quickly as possible and in the most cost effective manner. Clearly, in the current climate being nimble, flexible on fees and innovative helps.