Towards a necessary mobility of in-house lawyers
Mobility is a necessary issue for legal departments if they want to offer careers to their in-house lawyers, retaining the best among them by making it possible for them to evolve within the legal framework, or in business positions within the company.
Whether it be in the intellectual interest of the in-house lawyer, in the economic interest of the company, or to ensure the independence of a lawyer that will be alone and too isolated locally, far from headquarters or other lawyers,evolution towards new horizons, preferably internally, is a saving dynamic for the legal profession. This mobility could be vertical (though positions are becoming increasingly scarce), or – especially – horizontal, allowing in-house lawyers to broaden their technical, business or geographical knowledge.
For young lawyers, priority should be given to cross-department mobility so that they can learn all of the roles within the company and interact with the greatest number of these, thus understand the business. Experienced lawyers may be assigned responsibility for a geographical area without being familiar with the local law.
The Legal Director will not require this kind of technical knowledge of lawyers with this level of experience. Rather, these senior lawyers should be very business-oriented, and capable of managing local in-house lawyers and steering the country’s law firms in relation to the law firm policy. These senior lawyers, whose managerial skills should have been developed previously, will be key players in the implementation of the group’s legal policy, having worked at the headquarters. They will also be “project and team manager” lawyers, responsible for risk culture and for the appropriate sharing of information between the company’s stakeholders: local and headquarters in-house lawyers, affiliate and executive business teams, and local and headquarters outside counsels. We can only encourage legal departments and human resources departments to sit down and work together in order to offer “high-potential in-house lawyers” the best career development within the overall organization.