In our latest 60 second interview, The Lawyer talks to Vicki Bradin, general counsel and company secretary at Sage, about how she helps her in-housers develop their leadership skills and what she looks for when hiring talent ahead of her session at this year’s In-house Counsel as Business Partner conference, in association with EY.
Most in-house legal teams have flat hierarchies, how do you motivate your lawyers in the absence of promotion?
For me its about giving our lawyers different experiences, that could be moving them around teams within legal which require different skill sets (moving from commercial contracts to compliance for example), offering them the opportunity to mentor and train up more junior team members or even offering them international secondments. I always tell my team we are a global company and that offers them the opportunity to work in our other offices, which is really exciting.
What strategies do you employ to support your lawyers in their professional development?
Personal development is the top issue which comes through in our internal engagement surveys in legal. We have put in place individual personal development plans for all our lawyers and use these to find opportunities within the business to meet these requests where we can. We also give them the chance to contribute or lead on legal’s strategic initiatives so they feel committed and engaged in creating the future of the function and this also enables them to develop their leadership skills.
What are the key qualities you look for when hiring lawyers?
Legal ability is a given so I look for lawyers who have fire in their belly and ambition to help us build the function of the future. I like lawyers who think beyond the work in front of them and make time to always consider how we can improve the way we do things. I love it when my team members bring me their ideas for improvement!
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
I have two. The first is George Knighton, corporate partner at Allen & Overy who believed in me and helped me make the move into in-house. He has always provided me with great advice and guidance in my career. The second is Tom Kilroy, the former GC at Misys (now Finastra). Tom showed me that there was no limit to what was possible as a lawyer working in-house and has instilled in me the belief that lawyers can apply their skills across a broad range of areas in their companies beyond just legal.
The In-house Counsel as Business Partner conference, in association with EY, is being held at the Hilton London Tower Bridge Hotel on the 5-6 November. If you’d like more information on the event, including the full agenda and speaker line-up as well as how you can register to attend, please contact Kenan Balli on +44(0) 20 7970 4017.