NetOTC GC: This is what being a GC is really about

Risk compliance NetOTC general counsel Joanne Theodoulou talks about what companies want to see in in-house CVs, and how in-house lawyers can hold their own with management.

Theodoulou, who is one of the speakers at The Lawyer’s upcoming In-house Counsel as Business Partner conference, said that in-house lawyers have to adapt outside of their legal skillsets to survive in a business environment.

Ahead of her session on what in-house lawyers need on their CV before making the move to general counsel, Theodoulou revealed what being a GC really involves.

“There is a big difference between being head of legal in a department and being a GC, the main thing being that the scope is much broader,” she said.

Joanne_Theodoulou
Joanne Theodoulou

Sometimes your job really doesn’t have much to do with your legal expertise, she added.

“In a lot of situations a general counsel needs to be a counsel, a general adviser above any legal expertise. I think a lot of people talk about wanting to be a GC but it’s hard to appreciate what it really involves.”

So how do you distinguish yourself as a GC? Theodoulou argued that it is simple.

“If you are given a voice you need to be able to use it,” she said. “You need to think about the bigger picture and need to be able to talk about strategy and vision with rest of management team. GCs who can do that really do add value.”

The competition for in-house roles has become tougher in the last few years, with more private practice lawyers considering the move to more prominent roles within businesses.

During her session at the conference, Theodoulou plans to share her thoughts on what in-house counsel should do in order to stand out during the recruitment process.

“I’m very rare in that I turn to straight to someone’s interests when I look at their CV,” she admitted. “I know that if they are people recommended by my network that they are – hopefully -good lawyers.”

She believes that you can learn a lot about an interviewee with what they choose to do outside of their working life.

“What distinguishes them?” she asked. “What have they done and, of that, what do they choose to reveal?”

Joanne Theodoulou will be speaking at The Lawyer’s In-house Counsel as Business Partner conference on 24 and 25 November, in sessions showcasing 18 hours of expertise, with general counsel from over 10 different sectors speaking to delegates over two days. Book your place here