There is plenty to be said about how the litigation attorney’s day-to-day has evolved with the advent of big data, increased litigation, and high-tech e-discovery. Undoubtedly, in-house legal teams have undergone the same evolution—so how has this changed what the modern corporation needs from its legal department?

In short, a highly effective in-house team requires more than just legal prowess. What other qualities are key in producing value for their companies?

Understand The Breadth Of Legal Specializations—And Be Prepared For Them to Change

“Except for very small companies, my view is that a general counsel should have at least 25 years of high-quality experience across a number of practice areas, including corporate, transactions, and employment, and at least reasonable experience with general compliance issues, intellectual property, insurance, litigation, and dispute resolution,” said David Hejna, general counsel at kCura.

A legal team, David argues, is needed to provide key support to the GC and their many functions: “As a company grows, the GC hires, by necessity, more legal personnel to specialize in various areas.”

In addition to learning the ropes of these many areas, in-house legal teams must keep up with a constantly evolving landscape of regulation, globalization, and technology.

Lori Rice, a paralegal at a high-tech chemical manufacturing company, explains: “The laws are constantly changing. One of the challenges we face especially are international data privacy laws. With the Privacy Shield coming and Safe Harbor being invalidated, that’s a big issue for a lot of companies here in the US. Incoming in-house attorneys or hopefuls should have knowledge of existing data privacy issues and case law surrounding that,” she says.

Good advice for current and aspiring in-house legal professionals is to stay current and be ready to adapt to the constant evolution of the law, always evaluating how those changes are going to affect existing processes and procedures.

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