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Blog / Advising leaders: 10 top tips from the Global Counsel 2018 award winners

19 November 2018

Each year Lexology, in conjunction with the Association of Corporate Counsel, hosts the Global Counsel Awards, which celebrate the achievements of in-house counsel recognised by their peers as excelling in their chosen fields. Following this year’s 12th annual awards ceremony in New York, we quizzed some of the winners on the best way to advise senior leadership with Lexology – our top 10 tips for in-house counsel are below:

  1. “Your focus must extend beyond pure legal advice and be provided in the context of the business and its strategic internal and external goals.” – Maree Myerscough, general counsel at Conergy, winner of the General Commercial Individual of the Year award

  2. “It’s important not to pretend that you have answers if you really don’t know… it is much better to say, ‘I don’t know, I’ll find out’ than to try to bluff your way through or speculate.” – Patricia Byrne, vice president and associate general counsel for international compliance at BAE Systems, Inc, winner of the Regulatory (Non-financial Services) Team of the Year award

  3. “Have an opinion: outside counsel often raise red flags but rarely offer advice or solutions. It’s up to you to flag the risks as well but also to offer an opinion as to whether they’re worth taking.” – Valerie Kitay, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Savanna, winner of the General Counsel of the Year award

  4. “Translate legal risk into comprehensible notions of business risk without over-simplifying or over-complicating the matter.  It’s practically an art form.” – Ezra Katzen, general counsel at Taboola, winner of the Corporate Tax Individual of the Year award 

  5. “Pay attention to the unspoken – sometimes the problem for a client is not actually what they think it is, but rather something else that has not yet been mapped yet.” – Andressa Gudde, senior legal coordinator at Yara Brazil, winner of the Employment Team of the Year award

  6. “Try not to hedge. Give a non-legal framework for the decision that needs to be taken. Take a position and let people react. Be clear when you don’t think that a counter opinion has legs.” – Oliver Bethell, head of EMEA competition at Google Inc, winner of the Competition Individual of the Year award

  7. “First and foremost – know the business. After that, listen more than you talk, be patient, be respectful of all opinions and ideas, and be collaborative.” – Theis Rice, chief legal officer at Trinity Industries Inc, winner of the Lifetime Achievement award

  8. “Speak up in the (rare) cases that there is no appropriate legal solution.” – Nikolas Hübschen, senior vice president of general law and litigation at Uniper SE, winner of the Litigation Team of the Year award

  9. “Just by asking key questions at the beginning you are already helping senior leadership in the decision process and where to focus.” – Marcos Jarne, general counsel at Nubank, winner of the Rising Star award 

  10. “Pragmatism. An in-house counsel needs to work out how to reach the best solution – exploring and understanding risks, but showing engagement in and ownership of the advice you are giving.” – Eduardo Nogueira, vice president, legal and compliance at DHL International GmbH, winner of the M&A Individual of the Year award

The complete interviews with all of the Lexology Global Counsel Awards 2018 winners can be found on the Lexology hub page.