Every month, we host virtual meet-ups for the different groups in our Community of in-house legal professionals. During the past month, we’ve been focusing on a few different topics. From encouraging the business to adopt a self-serve culture and managing multiple clients as a consultant, to what should guide decision making in business.

Here is a snapshot of some of the key takeaways that were discussed in these virtual meetups recently.

[Did you know that we host monthly meetings for in-house legal professionals across a number of sub-groups where you can meet, learn, and share with your peers all under Chatham House Rule? It’s free to join so register today!]

1. Teaching the business to fish

For the Lean Legal group call in September, they were joined by fellow member, Tom Angelheri, who shared his experience on “teaching the business to fish.” Tom shared some of his tips for fishing teaching:

  1. Engaging deeply – Tom shared that he had a few months dedicated to really engaging with the business. This allowed him to build relationships and create a shared intention.
  2. Revise standard T&Cs by taking out the red herrings and things the business will usually concede on anyway to simplify the contract.
  3. Furnish colleagues and customers with information about terms and conditions. Make the justification and rationale clear so that colleagues feel confident in their position, whilst giving customers transparency too.

As Community Ambassador, Nicola Jones, summed up: Tom shared the way in which he has made commercial contracts a vehicle for the business ethos around transparency and integrity.

From the conversation which followed, it was clear that people were at very different stages of the journey of encouraging a self-serve culture amongst colleagues. However, there was a consensus that most spent at least 50% of their time on dealing with frequently asked questions. 

2. Managing multiple clients as a consultant

As an in-house legal consultant, you can find yourself working with multiple clients at the same time. With this can come managing multiple laptops and operating systems. How can you make this easier for yourself? 

Well, this was the topic covered in the Crafty Consultants call recently. There were some great insights and tips shared, such as using the same operating system as your clients and making the most out of products like Microsoft Office. More than one person said “The iPhone saved my life” because it made it possible to integrate information from different systems. 

Aside from tech tips, managing client expectations was also discussed. The group agreed that, as far as possible, it is important to be transparent with your client. Be open and honest when it comes to ways of working and timelines

3. What should guide decision making

Working startups, it can feel like “all hail the bottom line”. However, should the bottom line always be the driving force? Are there times when decisions could (or should) be guided by something else?

Our High Growth group for those working in startups or scaleups discussed this topic in small group breakouts. There was a consensus that sometimes decisions need to be made based on ethical considerations, or taking into account a longer term view – as opposed to a short term (perhaps more bottom line oriented) one. However, it also emerged that there are things which influence when the “non bottom line” views are raised such as:

  • Does your organisation have a culture that is psychologically safe?
  •  Have you built up relationships as an ongoing practice? (Much easier to raise issues if you have invested in building relationships up front)
  • Have you prepared the ground for the possibility of disagreements, and your approach to raising difficult issues? (You could almost call this “pre-contracting for disagreement” with your leadership team)
  • Picking your battles… Whether your org is regulated or not.
  • Personal courage… (to contemplate: when have you expressed courage at work? How did that feel? What made that possible for you? How could you build on that for yourself and others?) 

There were lots of interesting discussions on a variety of topics within this month’s Community calls. Huge thanks to everyone who joined these sessions for sharing their insights and experiences so candidly.

We are always looking out for good topics and presenters if you have an example or story to share with your group.  Do get in touch with us or the Community Ambassador who runs the calls.

Do you want to join us for these monthly meetings for in-house legal professionals held all under Chatham House Rule? Learn more about joining our Community for in-house legal.