Demands on In-House Lawyers on the Rise

This article in Legal Week mirrors our experience in speaking with clients:

One general counsel at a digital bank said the huge uptick in work has stretched their legal team’s capacity, particularly because of the nature of the work. “It’s not business as usual”, he said, “it’s over and above, and quite technical”. He outlined that the issues now being taken on by junior lawyers – and the majority of in-house teams - are challenging because there is often no right or wrong answer, and there are many legal, regulatory and conduct considerations to make.

Legal Week

The article highlights how many GCs, due to the new landscape they are facing, are being forced to push down work they would otherwise have done themselves to more junior lawyers. Whilst the pandemic may be a catalyst for immediate change, it is unlikely to result in a short term change. Often the benefits discovered via this forced change will, instead, be part of the evolution of that organisation's management of its legal function.

The benefits are plain (i.e. upskilling juniors and prioritising a GC's workload) provided the organisation's, the GC's and the junior's objectives are met:

  • Organisations want to ensure their issues are managed in accordance with their values, commercial objectives and risk appetite. Delivery of this is the GC's mandate.
  • Having been delegated the work, junior in-house lawyers, will welcome the experience and ability to influence outcomes. But to thrive they need to be supported to make those decisions and that too is a GC's responsibility.

In the management of commercial disputes or stalled negotiations (which need to be managed as potential disputes), that is often where in-house juniors need greater support.

In order to meet both the organisation's objectives and needs of its in-house team (both its GC and juniors), we developed The In-House Litigator offering. Using our in-house experience across our Dispute Resolution team, The In-House Litigator offers flexible support to managing disputes or legal problems in a way that is reflective of the nature, scale and value of your business and disputes.

Surviving a crisis is often a success in itself and, for junior in-house lawyers, one that can give confidence forming the foundations of a resilient career. But is "surviving" good enough? For both the individual and organisation - it can be an opportunity to develop a much more confident and efficient team.

Please get in touch if we can help by providing flexible general counsel support during that process.