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2021 Development programme for in-house lawyers

We are delighted to bring to you a series of 'virtual' events on career, personal and team development for those working in-house.

Following on from the success of the past two years, this series of structured discussions are aimed at all those working in-house addressing various topics. Sessions are facilitated by two former senior in-house lawyers and operated under Chatham House rule.

The remaining 2021 sessions will be focus on the following areas:

Leading and developing legal teams

Wednesday 12 May

We consider here the importance for leaders of teams of developing their team members as individuals and their teams as teams; we examine ways in which development can be carried out; and we look at how individuals can and should take initiatives to foster their own development. Underpinning this topic is the question: can a team leader attend to the development of others if the leader does not attend to their own development in the first place?

Structuring and resourcing the in-house legal function

Wednesday 14 July

In this session we explore different ways of structuring an in-house legal function to meet the business needs of the client organisation, including whether these ways differ according to the size of the function and the complexity of the organisation. How far does a chosen structure need to reflect the career and development needs of its lawyers? We also consider recruitment and deployment of lawyers; and effective ways of using the legal budget, both internally and to draw on external legal assistance.

Lawyer, manager and leader – how to balance the needs of the in-house role

Wednesday 15 September

Lawyers newly appointed to head an in-house legal team for the first time often ask, “How much of my time should I spend on managing the team as opposed to doing my own legal practice, and how does leadership differ from management?” In this session we explore approaches to achieving both balance and flexibility in providing answers to these deceptively simple questions for all lawyer managers, new and experienced.

Collaboration – working across the organisation and with external lawyers

Wednesday 20 October

The most effective in-house lawyers are those who are skilled at working with clients at every level across their organisation. We look at approaches and behaviours that support effective collaboration, including ways of building and sustaining relationships of trust. Most in-house lawyers rely to some extent on the services of external lawyers. We examine ways of working successfully with externals – law firms and the bar.

Resilience, reputation and personal networks

Wednesday 24 November

In this session we are concerned with resilience, how to handle pressures and bounce back from setbacks. We examine what resilience looks like and how it is developed; the importance of self awareness; how personal reputation and networks, inside and outside the organisation, can support resilience; how reputation is created, maintained and undermined; and how networks can be built.


I cannot attend all the sessions – is this OK?
Yes, of course. Each session works on its own. Attend as many as you wish to.

Is attendance limited to one lawyer per organisation?    
No, but please consider whether participating with your legal colleagues may inhibit discussion. Generally, we find that the best discussions involve participants from a range of different organisations. 

If you would like to discuss a tailored session for your legal team, do please get in touch.

Is any preparation necessary?
No, as each session is run as an interactive discussion to cover topics of interest to those attending. We will invite you to complete a brief pre-session questionnaire where you can indicate any topics that you would particularly like to discuss. You will also be able to do this at the session itself.

Are there any post-session materials? 
We will invite you to complete a feedback form as this is very important to our planning for future events. 
We typically publish a short general summary, or article, of the key themes emerging from the session, without highlighting individuals. 

If you are interested in attending any of these sessions please contact us. We will be creating events pages for each of these sessions over the next few weeks.

Previous sessions

Communication, persuasion and problem-solving for in-house lawyers
Wednesday 24 February
This session focused on the heart of the in-house lawyer’s trade: being a constructive and effective problem-solver, which itself comes from being on top of the relevant law and possessing a well developed understanding of the needs of your clients at every level and the organisation’s business. It also looked at the best ways of communicating advice influentially.  

Developing a career in-house, including career transitions for in-house lawyers and how to handle them
Wednesday 24 March

This session explored how in-house lawyers can develop their careers; how career development looks in different types of organisation; the skills and attributes needed to build a successful in-house career; the role of managers and mentors in developing others; best ways of transitioning from one position to another; and the role of career planning.