China (PRC)

Following up on our September news item On the road with ‘The Smarter Legal Model’ in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, we can now provide a more in-depth report on the stimulating workshops held to address major challenges all in-house departments face.

The In-House Community™ has always prided itself on supporting its members with practical solutions rather than academic theory or “talking shop” seminars. So we were very proud to work with Co-Hosts Eversheds and King & Wood Mallesons and bring together over thirty, Billion Dollar company General Counsel to engage in three, half-day workshops using the award-winning ‘Smarter Legal Model: More for Less’ by Trevor Faure, General Counsel / Head of Legal for 25 years at EY Global, Tyco International, Dell EMEA and Apple EMEA. The workshops took place across Greater China – Hong Kong (September 7th), Shanghai (September 10th) and Beijing (September 11th) and were typically hailed by attendees as “simply excellent”. Trevor has given these workshops in the US, Canada & Europe and last last year his Macau workshop for the In-House Community™ was rated as “very enlightening and productive”.

The format of the meetings was a closed environment for open discussion where peers spent as long as they wished sharing their major concerns, which Trevor collected together in real time.

After a break, Trevor then addressed each of the major challenges identified by showing proven solutions from over 250 applications of the Smarter Legal Model around the World, including Asia-Pacific. The Model is a simple process of defining, measuring and improving the performance of a legal function or even an individual lawyer and has been described by no less than Harvard’s Ben Heineman – the person who first revolutionised the role of the in-house corporate lawyer as GC of General Electric – as “the holy grail of business productivity”. Trevor explained how world-class improvement techniques used by our businesses can be translated to our legal roles with “common sense and data”. Using the Model and real-life case studies, Trevor helped each attendee create their own practical plan to address the issues they raised, such as:

  • “How can we show value, be a business partner and earn our place at the business table?”
  • “Doing more for less”.
  • “Prioritisation of workload and the conflicts between commercial demands and compliance.”
  • “How to find the best staff and keep them motivated.”

Trevor showed data analytics of how lawyers waste precious time on low-value tasks and how they can move up that value chain, how relationships with law firms can be transformed into win-win relationships and how the legal department can drive a company’s profits. He even shared his experience of how volunteering to do a non-legal, frontline business job while also serving as General Counsel transformed the image of the legal department in the eyes of his business clients.

As everyone explored and applied the positive solutions to their own challenges the conversations were deep and detailed but also relaxed and good-humoured; it was interesting to see that everyone seemed both educated and entertained! The 4 hours flew by and many attendees stayed on to network and have 1:1 discussions with Trevor. Not surprisingly the formal feedback from the sessions was unanimously positive: 89% “Excellent”, 100% “Excellent” + “Good” and so on. Specific comments included:

  • “Provocative and challenging, with many great insights.”
  • “It is a great workshop. No matter how small legal dept. is, how to use it efficiently is every GC’s goal.”
  • “Some messages were real eye-openers for me and I will definitely apply what I have learned from the forum in my work.”
  • “Very practical”, “Right on point”.
  • “Trevor’s Workshop refreshed my mind with a unique perspective and original methods.”

Trevor’s practical but friendly approach can been seen online in excerpts such as Bloomberg TV (YouTube: Faure: Using Client Data to Increase Law Firm Revenues or Client Biz Dev: You’re Doing It Wrong) , and for those unlucky enough not to have attended, the Smarter Legal Model is available as a publication at:

Better still, The In-House Community™ is working with certain leading law firms to arrange further workshops with Trevor in 2016 so ask your favourite law firm, let us know and watch this space!

For more information:
Patrick Dransfield

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