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you'll never stand alone 537

You'll never walk alone

The spirit of collaboration among in-house lawyers is on the rise

Statistics emerging from the NSW Law Society reflect a steady increase in the number of lawyers practising in-house, but many of those lawyers operate as the sole lawyer within their organisation, or as part of a very small team in comparison with revenue-generating divisions.

Even in the best governed and progressive organisations, this can sometimes make the role feel lonely, isolated, or difficult – for important reasons arising from the need for independence and objectivity; and from the paramount obligation to act ethically. But every in-house lawyer should find solace in knowing that even if they feel like the last bastion of logic and reason in their organisation, they need never ‘walk alone’!

Sources of support

That’s because more than ever before, there is a spirit of collaboration forming among in-house lawyers that ensures that there is always someone with a useful perspective, gem of insight or even cautionary tale to offer; and who is both available and willing to share it. The most obvious sources of this support are bodies like the Law Society itself, particularly though the work of its Corporate Lawyers Committee and the newly created role of In-House Counsel Segment Manager. The Association of Corporate Counsel Australia is another example of a professional body that provides a range of support and networking mechanisms for in-house lawyers who might otherwise be flying solo, or close to it.

Pick up the phone

But even if these coordinating bodies didn’t exit, the legal profession has always been one in which practitioners have happily borne the responsibility of providing guidance and support to fellow lawyers when it has been asked for. There are myriad examples of in-house lawyers simply picking up the phone or sending an unsolicited email to their counterparts in other in-house teams and receiving generous amounts of time and information that often result in the establishment of lasting relationships. How do you know who to reach out to? Try LinkedIn; profiles appearing in industry publications; speaker lists for legal conferences; referrals from private practice contacts – the means are limited only by our imaginations!

Further resources