REUTERS | A farmer cuts tulips on a field near the city of Creil, Netherlands April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
REUTERS | A farmer cuts tulips on a field near the city of Creil, Netherlands April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The progress of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, a review into the government’s net zero target, two employment-related consultations and an investigation into greenwashing are among the key developments for in-house lawyers to track this month.

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REUTERS | Ognen Teofilovski

Please join us on 22 February 2023 (2.00pm – 3.00pm) for a webinar hosted by The Centre for Legal Leadership on planning a career as an in-house lawyer.

In-house lawyers work for a huge range of organisations in many different sectors. They may work alone, in a small team, or in a very large one. It may be a centralised team or be co-located with clients, including in different legal jurisdictions. Given this variety, the webinar will discuss the key attributes that in-house lawyers require in 2023 and beyond, and how to plan a rewarding in-house career.

The discussion will be led by our speakers, Elizabeth Messud, Group General Counsel, Kingfisher and Linda Dann, CBE, National Security Law Director, Microsoft UK.

REUTERS | Horses gallop across a blossoming field at sunset outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 14, 2016. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

Episode 108 of the Hearing is now available.

Law school. Supreme Court of New Jersey. Prison. Oval Office of the White House. These are just a few places where this episode’s guest, John Koufos, has spent time. If you haven’t heard John’s story, then prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride. A former criminal defense attorney who was no stranger to a high-pressure career, John’s 15-year battle with alcoholism eventually caught up to him, with tragic consequences.

Join our new host, Lauren Sobel, as she chats with John about his former legal career, what it was like to leave the courthouse – where he once practiced – in handcuffs, his journey to becoming a recognized expert on re-entry into society after prison, and his remorse. Lauren and John also cover issues like substance abuse in the legal profession, how the criminal justice system impacts all of society, and the less obvious consequences of being a convicted felon.

John’s story gives true meaning to the phrase second chances and, as Lauren says, making lemonade out of lemons. His candor and determination had us glued to this conversation, and we think you’ll be too.

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HM Treasury’s Edinburgh Reforms, and in particular how the government will make its proposed changes to the existing prospectus and public offers regime, are likely to be of interest to many in-house lawyers. Publication of directives on corporate sustainability reporting and the gender balance of boards of listed companies are noteworthy too.

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REUTERS | Clodagh Kilcoyne

The first open meeting of the Practical Law In-house Future Forum took place recently, to discuss the topic of networking. The meeting featured presentations from Alisa Grafton, author of Great Networking: The Art and Practice of Building Authentic Professional Relationships and partner at De Pinna Notaries, and Andre Brown, Senior Commissioning Editor at Practical Law.

While we had initially planned to hold the meeting in person, especially given the subject matter and its timing during the traditional festive event season, logistics and a desire to open the meeting to as wide an audience as possible in the end dictated a virtual venue, which was open to all who registered.

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Crisis management has been a feature of many in-house lawyers working lives in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This year’s final Centre for Legal Leadership webinar, hosted in conjunction with Thomson Reuters, focused on an in-house lawyer’s role in handling a crisis.

Themes raised during the discussion included the key attributes required in a crisis, establishing a crisis team, relationship building and protecting the wellbeing of your team and yourself.

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Are lawyers working well?

It is hard to imagine any lawyer working wholly in isolation. In fact, their working environment means that they must often navigate a particularly complex set of relationships. For in-house lawyers, dealing with different divisions or groups within your organisation, advising individuals, working with colleagues, leading teams and managing support staff are all part of daily life. While who you work with and how you do it will differ, the reality is that working with others is an important part of being a legal professional.

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REUTERS | David Mdzinarishvili

Episode 106 of the Hearing is now available.

In this episode, Becky explores the unique role the monarch plays in British government, and considers what changes may come now that King Charles III has ascended to the throne following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Becky talks to Sir Jonathan Jones KC, a consultant in constitutional law at Linklaters, and Robert Hazell, a professor of government and the constitution at University College London. They discuss the formal and informal powers the UK monarch has to influence legislation, and how Queen Elizabeth approached the role during her historic reign.

What powers does the monarch really have? And which limits on the monarchy are based on convention rather than the constitution?

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The Thomson Reuters Institute has published the 2022 edition of the Legal Department Operations (LDO) Index report. The data in the report includes real-world legal spend analytics gathered from Thomson Reuters’ Legal Tracker and sourced from 1,500 corporate law departments. It is complemented by responses from 107 law departments to a Thomson Reuters survey conducted in August and September 2022.

The report suggests that areas such as outside spending, technology adoption, in-house legal operations, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives were top of mind for many respondents.

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REUTERS | Grigory Dukor

Practical Law has published a report on the key trends from the 2022 reporting and AGM season. The report considers, among other things, the format of AGMs over the past year, workforce engagement methods, diversity on boards and shareholder and board-proposed climate resolutions. It also contains a section on trends within the AIM UK 50, as well as contributions by Marks and Spencer Group PLC on the benefits of a fully digitally-enabled AGM and the FRC on its review of corporate governance reporting.

The report is based on a review of the notices of AGM and annual reports of 268 FTSE 350 premium listed commercial companies and 51 AIM companies, summaries of which can be accessed from What’s Market: AGMs: FTSE 350: 2022 and What’s Market: AGMs: AIM 50: 2022.

Key highlights from the report include:

  • Nearly 75% of companies held a physical meeting this year. Only five companies conducted fully virtual AGMs.
  • As at 14 October 2022, 84 FTSE 100 companies had achieved at least 33% female representation on their boards and, of these, 57 companies had 40% or more female representation at board level.
  • 176 companies (80 FTSE 100 and 96 FTSE 250) disclosed in their annual report that their board comprises at least one director from a non-white ethnically diverse background.
  • 17 FTSE 350 companies tabled climate-related resolutions at their 2022 AGM. Of the 20 resolutions tabled, 17 were board-proposed and three were requisitioned by shareholders.
  • The boards of the AIM UK 50 companies comprise 20% women.

Source: Annual reporting and AGMs 2022: What’s Market practice?