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Inside In-House Podcast

by Thomson Reuters Asia and Emerging Markets

In this series, you'll be hearing from a variety of in-house counsel at different stages of their careers as they take us along the story of their career journey and share their experiences and insights into what it takes to be an effective in-house counsel.

Copyright: Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters Asia and Emerging Markets

Episodes

Employment Law Space

30m · Published 24 Nov 22:00

Inside In-House Podcast Episode 3: Employment Law Space

In our final episode of the Inside In-house Podcast for 2020, Tyrilly interviewed three employment lawyers with private practice and in-house experience to understand their career journeys to becoming employment law specialists. The panel also tackled the important role employment lawyers play in managing end of year festivities for the organisations they support.

Katrina and Sophie are dedicated lawyer writers for Practical Law's employment module and shared their experience in legal practice with special in-house counsel guest, Kym Korbel. Have a listen to the legal podcast below and scroll down for the episode features.  

Podcast show notes

Finding the employment law calling

Kym is Head of Employee Relations and Policy at Metcash. Interestingly, law is Kym’s second career, having trained and worked as a medical scientist for a number of years before making the decision to change careers. When Kym completed law school, she landed a private practice role in an IP team. Over a period of eight years, Kym was sent on a number of secondments. 

“Spending that time working directly within the business made me realise that that's what I wanted to do.”

Once Kym became a mother, the timing was perfect to move into a part time in-house position. Her first toe in the water was as a general commercial lawyer for a food manufacturing company. 

“When I started, there was no one there who specialised in employment law, and the HR team briefed people brief lawyers directly. The General Counsel wanted to get a better understanding of how much money they were spending on legal fees, what types of questions they're asking, and how often they might be asking the same questions.”

Kym put her hand up to act as a “post-box” for HR legal queries, and the rest as they say, is history. 

“With the support of the General Counsel and the HR Director, I decided to focus on employment law from that point on, and I don't think I could go back. While I'm certainly not an in-house lawyer by design, I really feel like I've landed in the best place and found the right area for me.”

Key differences between roles

During the interview, Tyrilly asked Kym to outline some of the key differences between being an in-house lawyer to an in-house employment lawyer. Kym replied:

“When I was a general commercial in-house lawyer, I felt like I was more a jack of all trades. Now as an employment lawyer, the work is still varied, but certainly much more focused in one area.”

“As the employment lawyer, when I've sat in the legal team, there is much less fiddly cross-collaboration with me to the point that in a previous organisation, the General Counsel said that he knew the HR team liked me and needed me, but he'd much rather have my head count as another commercial lawyer.”. 

Tyrilly observed that it was more common nowadays to see employment lawyers sitting apart from the main legal team, and instead having a functional role within the HR team itself. Kym noted:

“That makes a lot more sense for this role. We're still involved with the legal team, though sit within the team that directly utilise us and provide advice. It's a welcoming and collaborative environment.

Tyrilly added her observation’s to Kym’s commentary, noting that in-house lawyers are best utilised when they are engaged early on in transactional work. 

“Certainly, we can do the most for our clients when we are part of that collaborative process,” she said.

Sophie, Senior Employment Law Writer at Practical Law, agreed with Kym’s comments, recalling her personal experiences in the in-house employment law space being a much more collaborative...

The Entertainment Industry

30m · Published 19 Jul 22:00

Following on from our podcast launch interview, where Tyrilly Csillag, Head of In-House and Commercial at Practical Law interviewed Michelle Dillon, General Counsel at Verifone, our latest Inside In-House episode is a pivot from the FinTech space to the entertainment sector.  

Tyrilly spoke with two experienced corporate counsel on the program. They are Ivana Kovacevic, Assistant General Counsel at Aristocrat and Cameron Stewart, Senior Legal Counsel at Foxtel.

The in-house X factor 

This particular episode sparked a ‘full circle’ moment for Tyrilly. She met and worked with Cameron while back in private practice. Whilst there, Tyrilly found herself on the opposite side of litigation with Ivana, when Ivana was practising at a law firm! The legal profession is indeed a small world.  

This leads us into our first section of the podcast, in which Cameron and Ivana discuss the pathways and reasons for moving in-house. 

For Ivana, while the opportunity came up for her in an unplanned way, the decision to remain there remains clear.  

“I work with a great team and the company is full of such talent - both legal and non-legal. We have artists, mathematicians and everything in between! It's really inspiring to go to work and be surrounded by people like that,” she said 

Work-wise, like most in-house professionals will tell you, no two days are the same for Ivana. But another plus factor is the commercial focus. At Aristocrat, Ivana is pleased with how close she is to her client and its business. As Ivana explained: 

“Immersion into the business comes with a unique ability to support the business, to really understand what it wants and also to have a seat at the table when strategic decisions are being made so you can influence and support it from the start” 

Ivana Kovacevic, Assistant General Counsel at Aristocrat 

Over at Foxtel, what attracted Cameron to join its legal department was his love for entertainment content and commercial law.  

“You don't really get that in-depth experience from private practice, where you're working on the periphery and you're working for multiple clients. When working in-house, you kind of gain plenty of knowledge around what drives different facets of the business,” said Cameron. 

A typical day for Cameron and his legal team is very diverse, depending on the projects they have operating at the time.  

“If I'm working on a production, particularly a scripted production, that will take up an inordinate amount of time during the day, and everything else can get pushed back because there are certain timeframes” 

Cameron Stewart, Senior Legal Counsel at Foxtel 

Furthermore, Cameron added that while the variability of each day may be challenging, it is also the feature that makes working in-house fun. 

Related article: Legal Operations Manager at AustPost Shares her Career Story 

Entertainment industry challenges 

Providing legal guidance to businesses operating in the entertainment sector is challenging, as it is very highly regulated. This can make for an adrenaline-filled legal environment at times. Tyrilly invited the guests to share some stories about any crisis or unique challenges they have faced. Cameron responded: 

“Often you'll be in a...

General Counsel as Trusted Advisers

23m · Published 22 Apr 22:00

Thomson Reuters is pleased to launch a brand new in-house podcast, capturing the voices of corporate counsel to ‘talk shop’ and swap stories. For episode one of Inside In-House, Tyrilly Csillag, Head of In-House and Commercial at Practical Law, approached a General Counsel with executive influence to speak on the program. The special first guest is Michelle Dillon, General Counsel – Asia Pacific for Verifone, a FinTech company offering point of sale technology. 

Tyrilly and Michelle go way back professionally, having worked together early in their careers within the same legal department. Here Tyrilly interviews Michelle on her in-house journey. Their conversation has a particular focus on the business acumen required to become a company’s APAC trusted legal adviser.

From law firm to in-house

Flexibility is a word you’ll hear a lot when you speak with corporate lawyers who opt to move in-house. In Michelle’s case, the in-house choice was not only a good opportunity to get back into the workforce after parenting two children, but her flexible attitude. 

“I moved over to in-house by being flexible – that is the recurring theme you will hear in discussions with me. As a lawyer, the key to success in the professional world is to be flexible in your commercial and professional relationships, and your ability to adapt to different surroundings,” she explained. 

A day in the life

Tyrilly asked Michelle what a typical day looks like for her, steering the ship as a regional GC. To this, Michelle points out the flexible work hours and time zones to consider in a given work day. 

“My day starts with New Zealand where it is two hours ahead and finishes with India, which is four and a half hours behind. Overnight I also engage with emails such as communications from the United States, so it is a very long day. Again, you need to be flexible and join calls at all times of the day, or sometimes at night,” she replied. 

As to the question of travelling, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (when travel restrictions were not in place), Michelle would spend a lot of time abroad. 

“I spend a lot of time socialising with the teams in whichever country I’m in. To me that’s how I measure success. It is not just by the role or the title I have, or how big my team is. Success is in how much I enjoy my job, want to get up in the morning and go to work and the relationships that I have developed in the course of my career,” said the General Counsel. 

Earning a ‘seat at the table’

The podcast host pointed out that General Counsel are required to have a high degree of business acumen. So how has Michelle developed these skills over time, Tyrilly asked? The answer is simpler than you’d think: through relationships. 

“To be able to do that, you need to develop good relationships where you’re not only seen just as a lawyer, but also as a true business partner and trusted adviser,” offered Michelle. 

Part of building this trust as a legal adviser is done through the use of astute empathy and understanding.

“I have helped the business realise that I’m here to assist them and get the deal done. To support them and not to be the stopper…you know, the gate that stops deals happening. It’s very important to show the business that you are there for them. Once you’ve earned their trust, you find that you are welcomed, involved, and your advice is asked...

Inside In-House Podcast has 3 episodes in total of non- explicit content. Total playtime is 1:23:18. The language of the podcast is English. This podcast has been added on August 26th 2022. It might contain more episodes than the ones shown here. It was last updated on February 15th, 2024 04:46.

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