In-house lawyers news archive

New year, new you - in-house career tips

26 February 2014

Career tips from ILG Committee for February 2014 newsletter

Improving yourself is very much the ethos of the Year of the Horse so to help you with your own career and personal development this year we asked the ILG Committee members a couple of questions:

Question 1:  What's the best career advice you've ever had?

"Consider how what you do in private would look on the front page of the Sunday Mail!" Allan Steele, Royal Air Force

"The best career tip I learned - especially for commercial deals - was to put myself in the other person's shoes. Why are they asking for what they are? Can they give me what I want? What do they want to get out of the deal? etc. The bottom line is that there's no point endlessly arguing over issues that it is impossible for the other side to agree with or concede."  Gregor Buick, Church of Scotland

"I had a role where I was dealing with people over the telephone regularly, and where they could be upset, or angry with decisions I was communicating to them. The tips I got were to stand up when speaking as this helps you to control the call in a positive way, and secondly to smile when speaking to someone on the phone as that would come through in your voice. Communication and creating the right impression is the key to so many jobs these days." Elaine MacGlone, Law Society of Scotland

"Don't be shy to ask your colleagues questions and listen to what they have to say. You can learn a lot from other peoples' experience and from constructive criticism. Also, most people love to help!" Claudia Bennett, Equality and Human Rights Commission

"'Don't go native', were the wise words of Glenn Del Medico when I joined the BBC. He had been giving programme legal advice to the corporation since the year I was born; it seemed sensible to pay attention. Glenn meant simply that journalists have their job and lawyers have another. Lawyers must not lose their detachment; sometimes, the worst allegations and the best jokes have to go.

"Glenn's words have an extra resonance in the midst of the phone hacking scandal, which is a reminder of the perils which can beset the in-houser. A less crude form of going native is the unconscious adoption of the organisation's world view. In-house lawyers who think the natives are making unethical demands can always approach ILG for a listening ear or for help finding a devil's advocate to help you know the other side of the case/argument (in order to better know your own)." Ros McInnes, BBC Scotland

"Grab opportunities and volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. Recently I went to an ILG seminar and one of our members who I hadn't met before came forward and proactively volunteered to help out with ILG. He had a lot of enthusiasm, energy and great ideas and the project he's now doing will ultimately help ILG, its members and his own CV as well." Sara Scott, The Royal Bank of Scotland

Question 2:  What's on your personal development plan this year?

"To (finally) get round to applying for a specialist accreditation from the Law Society (specifically in freedom of information and data protection law)." Margaret Keyse, Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner

"Mentoring. I'm lucky enough to have a mentor and be a mentor myself for the first time so I'll be making the most of that. I'm delighted to be mentoring two fantastic lawyers as part of the Law Society's mentoring scheme pilot. In fact a high proportion of the solicitors who applied to be mentors were from in-house so I'm clearly not the only in-houser who's passionate about the difference that mentoring can make to someone's career!" Sara Scott, Royal Bank of Scotland

"Having completed a 360-degree feedback exercise I am reflecting upon the results and how to use them to make positive improvements to my work." Elaine MacGlone, Law Society of Scotland

If ILG can help you meet you meet your career goals this year, please contact Elaine MacGlone.