Due to the Covid-19 crisis we are unfortunately forced to move the General Counsel NL Annual Conference and will now take place October 1ST 2020. All information about the annual conference can be found here.
On July 2nd, after months of video meetings it was good to see and speak with GCs again during the sunny GCN Special Outdoor Event ‘Flying safely through the storm’ on the large terrace at Hilversum Airport! With exciting contributions from experts in training resilient teams in high risk environments.
During the well-attended General Counsel NL New Year’s Boost on January 30th, General Counsel from all over the country got a special and exclusive look at the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour. Led by inspiring guides, we could enjoy the most beautiful masterpieces and hear all about the impressive restoration of ‘The Night Watch’. And, of course, we toasted on a great new GCN year!
Wanted: Colleagues that do not fit our team: Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion in Corporate Legal
Cybersecurity & the Cloud: What General Counsel should know
On the 4th of April our Annual Conference took place in the Peace Palace in the Hague, the city of peace and justice.
GC Fall Conference 2018: October 11th – It’s all about contracts
GC Annual Conference 2018: April 19th – New ways of working for General Counsel – Transforming companies need transforming GCs
During the General Counsel Fall Conference the first General Counsel Award was presented and over 150 participants discussed the theme: Leadership: giving and receiving Feedback
On April 16th, 2015 over 100 GC discussed the theme of the General Counsel Annual Conference: The General Counsel and reputation and crisismanagement.
How digitalisation will turn your world up side down
“Change before you have to”, a well known quote of Jack Welch of General Electric and the impact of digitalisation on the work of the General Counsel. That was the theme of the General Counsel Annual Conference 2014.
Over 100 GC gathered at KPMG’s headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
‘Where the puck is going, not where it has been – A lesson for the world of law’
The Headquarters of KMPG was an inspiring setting for the 100 participants of our first General Counsel Annual Conference themed ‘Tomorrow’s General Counsel’.
It was an event of knowledge sharing, networking and most of all of the ideas of Richard Susskind. Susskind shared his view on the world of lawyers, and more importantly, the future of the General Counsel and the legal world.
GCs were triggered to ask themselves; Are we ready to change our mindset, to be open to the fact that the world around is changing rapidly and therefore (if looking to be successful in the future) we have to change with this world. Because, as Susskind states repeatedly, we see that technology is changing the world on a daily basis and it is simply impossible that the legal profession is not impacted by this. And so where better to brainstorm on the subject and to share challenges and views with your peers than on this first General Counsel Conference specially organized for this.
Susskind opened his speech by quoting Mr. Wayne Gretzky, who when asked about his success in ice-hockey, said that he skates ‘where the puck’s going, not where it’s been’. Susskind sees this as a ‘lesson for the world of law’ and emphasizes the need for anticipation and development in the minds of lawyers.
We live in a world where pricing strategy is King, budgets are under pressure and there is more and riskier work to undertake than ever before. We all agree that there is a big call for ‘more for less’. This presents a real challenge for in-house lawyers to deliver more work with less people and less expenditure on external counsel.
Susskind explains that he sees the solution in two strategies:
- Efficiency (which focuses on cutting cost); and
- Collaboration (which focuses on sharing costs).
The cost of lawyering, Susskind states, is simply too high. Especially routine / repetitive work comes at a price that is just too high. Why not ‘decompose’ a task and then analyze what the most efficient way is to deal with this? Should we not look at legal work more as the world looks at any manufacturing job? Which part of a legal project, of litigation or of document retention are routine and repetitive and can therefore be done by other (cheaper) professions? Susskind mentioned the option of automatic document assembly as a starting point for negotiations so that focus can be only on the details.
Lessons of the day:
- More than anything we should realize that we should do things differently (and not just price differently). Agreeing on a fixed fee budget with outside counsel is no longer sufficient. Susskind mentioned the example of Rio Tinto where it was decided to outsource part of the legal processes (such as routine contract drafting and review) to a service provider in India as an immediate cost reduction initiative.
- Where the world of law is radically changing, we’d better keep up. Moore’s law that over the history of computing software, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years, tells us that there is no escape so Susskind preaches.
- Make your own future. Own it. Susskind ends his speech by quoting Abraham Lincoln: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”
And with these thoughts, the GCs were sent off to the workshops where various partners of GCN hosted sessions themed to the new (digital) legal world and the new ways of working.
The day was concluded by a panel discussion followed by drinks. The panel discussion was led by Christiaan Bramer, Manager Legal Affairs at Heineken Netherlands. Panel members discussed the points made by Susskind earlier in the day with a focus on their respective organisations. They discussed particular incidents in their organization, learnings they took therefrom and learnings they took from trying to implement changes and the key drivers for success.
The panel discussed the importance of vicinity to the business and having the trust of the business. Most of all the panel members agreed that there should be a focus on the realization that funds and resources should be made available to discuss and implement changes (improvements) as the current environment allows for fire fighting and resolutions rather than pro-actively protect and improve businesses and processes. Fire fighting will not help us to own our futures.
And so we believe that the first Annual GC Conference was not only a great success, it also gave us all plenty of food for thought and consideration in our day-to-day jobs. The theme will continue to be on the GCs’ minds and on that of their colleagues. Check where the puck is going… and reinvent.
The General Counsel NL Annual Conference is the main annual conference for General Counsel in the Netherlands and takes place every spring, each time with a different central theme. During this day full of variety, you take part in three GCN Round tables of your choice. There are short, inspiring contributions of keynote speakers and there is plenty of opportunity for personal introductions where we are happy to help you. Every fall the General Counsel NL Fall Conference takes place. From lunch to drinks you will be inspired by other General Counsel and special introductions. It is a unique and diverse gathering. Presentations are short and in-dept discussions are held in small groups. Each year a different theme is on the agenda. GCN facilitates GCN Round Tables, where various hot topics are discussed with experts and peers.
Here you will find a retrospect of GCN Conferences in the past years.