GC Views

Working with some of the most inspiring GC’s in the legal sector is something that makes our LOD HQ jobs so fulfilling and allows us to continue to attract LOD lawyers at the highest level.

Rather than keep all of their wonderful insight to ourselves, we’ve decided to create a series of GC Views, where we will talk to GC’s from around the world during the course of the year.

Catherine James and Shoshana Shields

 

At LOD, we feel privileged to work with GC’s who are at the top of their game.

In this GC Views, we are thrilled to talk to two such GC’s who are also finalists in the upcoming Lawyers Weekly Corporate Counsel Awards. Catherine James, nominated for Banking & Finance Lawyer of the Year and Shoshana Shields, nominated for Technology, Media and Telecommunications Lawyer of the Year, share their insights.

 

LOD: Thank you both for taking the time to talk with us. Can we start by asking what led you to a career in-house? 

Shoshana: I had a secondment experience at Virgin Mobile and immediately everything made sense to me from a career perspective. I loved the commerciality and common purpose of the environment. I’ve never looked back.

Catherine: My inner soul! Apart from all the usual reasons to move in-house, such as wanting greater commercial exposure, becoming closer to corporate strategy, more control, flexibility and a desire to seek broader expertise rather than specialise, my inner soul was craving something more than private practice M&A could offer at that time. I often tell the story that I came very close to accepting a marketing role in a well-known charity for a nominal salary, as I yearned to make more impact in society. The Challenger role attracted me as Challenger’s focus on annuities (and now more broadly retirement incomes) in an ever aging population was something that resonated with me and my family, as financial security for the elderly of every generation is so important. The Challenger role offered a demanding in house legal role where I felt I was instantly making a real impact.

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Claire Bibby, Brookfield Australia

 

We are delighted to have talked to Claire Bibby, Senior Vice President Legal & General Counsel, Brookfield, Australia.

Claire discusses how the role of a legal team has changed and gives us a snapshot of how her and her Brookfield team operate, her thoughts on future legal trends and her support of philanthropic causes.

 

LOD: Hi Claire, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. Can you start by telling us a little about your current role and your team?

Claire: Brookfield is one of the world’s largest global alternative asset managers and I have been a part of their team for over 12 years. With almost 4,000 internal clients that I advise with a team of 9 people, we are kept immensely busy.  The best word to describe our practice is that it’s like a kaleidoscope. The colourful nature and variety of legal issues that we deal with, set against a backdrop of the strength and processes of working in a global business like Brookfield, is such that we never have a Groundhog Day.  At the same time, Brookfield has given me a stage to use my position to advance causes of personal importance, both inside and outside of the company, including various initiatives to support Brookfield women, working families, diversity and philanthropic causes.

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Vincent Wong, Credit Suisse Hong Kong

 

We are delighted to have Vincent Wong, Head of Legal, Private Banking APAC at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong as our first interviewee. Vincent has broad experience in managing large teams of lawyers and compliance officers in a global investment bank.

Vincent spoke with LOD to discuss the changing role of in-house counsel and the trends within both the legal and banking industries.

 

LOD: Firstly thank you for your time and for being our first GC as part of our new GC Views series. At LOD we have seen the role of GC shift in recent years from a focus on pure legal technical work to a more commercial and strategic approach. Is that something you are seeing, and if so, how has that impacted on you and your role?

Vincent: Yes that is definitely the trend, especially now I am in more of a senior position.  The day-to-day legal work is undertaken by the team and as a senior member and leader of that team I tend not to be at the coalface doing the actual drafting and legal work.  I still do some from time to time – to keep the pencil sharp – but otherwise my role incorporates liaison with senior management as a strategic advisor.

This definitely makes the role more interesting and professionally more satisfying. I end up sitting on committees next to business partners looking at various things that in previous years the GC would not have been involved with, such as our risk profile when doing deals. I also comment on some of the commercial aspects of transactions we are looking at and that is a lot more fun than purely being a technical lawyer!

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