Every month, we host virtual meetups for the different groups in our in-house legal Community. During the past month, we’ve been focusing on a few different topics. From how you get the best out of your external counsel and managing upwards, to the challenge of keeping up-to-date as a consultant. 

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

[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? Register for the Community.]

1. Getting the best out of your advisors

It’s the age-old dilemma of how can in-house legal and their external counsel work together better?  Well, our FTSE and Friends group had a great discussion on the topic this month.

The group agreed that the personal relationship still matters and proactive horizon-scanning with the client in mind is so much better than standard newsletters.  The other area which in-house teams would like more insight is on legal tech. Law firms are in that privileged position where they see a lot of different clients, and can share best practice.  It is also appreciated when clients are introduced to other clients with shared interests.  

A top tip that came out of the discussion was to create a searchable record or depository of previous advice given. This helps you to avoid asking the same firm the same question – let’s get away from “mutually assured inefficiency!” 

Other than that, some things haven’t changed. For instance, we are still talking about: the introduction of panels, free training, the debate around fixed fees vs. hourly rates, value for money, and secondees. 

2. Managing upwards

Managing people is an important part of the in-house legal career. But we don’t often speak about how you can “manage upwards”. In this month’s Crafty Starters call, we explored the best ways to influence your manager or senior lawyers within your legal team, depending on their style. 

From “Autocratic” to “Analytic”, the group considered the various management styles and how to work effectively with each of them. And, the number one takeaway was self-awareness. Be self aware enough to know what gets the best collaboration with your specific manager.

There was also debate within the call on adaptability vs. authenticity. Be yourself of course, but  sometimes it can be useful to adapt your style to be received well. For instance, debating and sharing your views openly with a Consultative-type manager.

3. Challenge of keeping up-to-date

As an in-house lawyer, it’s important to keep yourself abreast of the industry changes such as compliance areas. But, as our Crafty Consultants group discussed, this can be more challenging when you are working as a freelancer or consultant. 

They agreed how important an up-to-date professional profile is as part of the offering for consultants, but it can be easy to lose track of wider developments. For instance, the cost of precedent services aren’t accessible for most individual consultants. It was noted that access to such services is one of the benefits of working through an alternative legal service provider (ALSP). 

The group shared their workarounds for keeping in the know. This included reliable updates from law firms and knowledge management methods (the likes of Trello, Google Drive). 

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 topics to share and members to present to our Community groups.  If this sounds interesting, get in touch with us or your Community Ambassador.

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