This was Dazychain’s second year attending the ILANZ annual conference, and personally my first time attending.
I was impressed and inspired by the close knit community of the New Zealand In-house counsel, and the wonderful energy in the air of people excited to connect, learn and improve their current processes. The authentic and invaluable knowledge sharing that was taking place demonstrated the creative and hard-working attitude so often attributed to New Zealanders.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Te Tiro Iho e Te Manu” - a Bird’s eye view. In a number of seminars, wonderful discussions were taking place about the legal team’s function within the business and how they can provide data to their executive teams.
It is apparent that the tide is turning in the legal industry, and running the legal department like other business departments is a must. The General Counsel must know how much the organisation is spending on legal advice, who is instructing external law firms, and ensure an organised knowledge management system is in place.
A key takeaway from the conference as a whole was - build a strong legal function that knows what they are working, and can demonstrate their value to the executive team. The General Counsel needs to be a strong manager as well as provide sound legal advice. Having meaningful data available will help the GC manage their team efficiently, resource their team effectively, and be the reliable strategic advisor the business needs. At any point, the legal team should be able to report on what they are working on, the high risks matters that require attention, and manage the advice given in a way that can be referenced in the future.