Author(s): Ciarán Fenton

Publication date: Nov 2023

Format: Softback

Pages: 264

Price: £125.00

ISBN: 9781787429529

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Featuring a Foreword by Professor Richard Moorhead, Professor of Law and Professional Ethics, University of Exeter

Few people understand the role of the in house lawyer as well as Ciaran. This book is brimming with ideas and will encourage in-house legal lawyers to reflect on their role. Every in house lawyer should keep a copy on their desk.

- Thomas Crane, Chief Legal Officer, International Personal Finance Plc. Former General Counsel & Chief Sustainability Officer, Coventry Building Society

In this book, Ciarán offers a no-nonsense guide to those who want to be the best in-house lawyer they can be. In pursuit of the ultimate prize of peace and joy at work, he sets his readers on an obstacle course to face the truth about themselves, the potential they have and the business in which they practice. This is not for the faint-hearted. Claiming to have read the book will provoke the question - so what have you done about it? Based on his personal and professional experiences, he systematically tackles the defences of the status quo. In its place, he provides the practical tools to build foundations for a future of fulfilment. As importantly, he signals why the status quo will be overwhelmed by stronger societal demands on businesses and those who counsel them.

- Loughlin Hickey, Co-Founding Trustee, A Blueprint for Better Business. Former Global Head of Tax, KPMG

I wish I had this book on my desk 20 years ago. It contains advice that is practical and useable in your day-to-day and should be required reading for all who are in-house lawyers or who interact with them. 

- Richard Given, General Counsel, OpenPayd

This book is conversational in style, easy to get into, hard to put down and full of gentle challenge and reflection for all of those who are, or who interact with, in-house lawyers. 

It is incredibly practical and does not shirk the difficult issues, including ethics and client pressure. It is well worth a thoughtful read.

- Russell Deards, Director of Legal & Compliance, Highbourne Group Limited

Ciaran’s insights are an excellent challenge for in-house lawyers trying to understand their role and manage their careers.  His focus on in-house lawyers as a growing area with changing priorities is timely and essential as in-house teams continue separation and evolution from its private practice routes.

- Stephen Cooke, currently freelance GC operating through Konexo GC services and other channels. Formerly MD in HSBC’s legal function, HSBC Global Legal function COO and head of legal team supporting technology & operations.

This is a profoundly thoughtful and insightful book clearly drawing on years of intimate exposure to the profession. From my perspective at London Business School, I also appreciated the many references to academic works. It is also intensely humane and kind.  Ciarán says that he could never have written this book before his illness. I can see why. What comes across is a deep caring for the profession, organisations and those who practice law in-house. Other professionals could also benefit from reading this book. His point about being aware of one’s own and one’s employer-client’s purpose and nurturing mutual understanding is pure wisdom. The book exposes severe weaknesses in legal training which prepares lawyers for careers as pressured  ‘micro-enterprises’. It has changed my perspectives. I wish I’d come across it decades ago.

- Jeff Skinner, Teaching Fellow, Strategy & Entrepreneurship, London Business School

Ciaran brings a refreshing and welcome sensitivity to the often macho world of corporate relationships, demonstrating that inclusiveness and kindness are actually beneficial to the bottom line rather than indications of weakness. I have long been an admirer of his perceptive and incisive guidance and this book crystalises his expertise.

- Carolyn Kirby OBE, President Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales, President Law Society England and Wales 2003

This is an essential and timely book. Essential in its provision of practical techniques to master the art and science of delivering legal services within a business environment in which your client is also your employer. Timely in its presentation of in-house lawyering as indivisible from leadership at a time when businesses and professionals are called to greater standards of responsibility in and for society. It would not be an overstatement to consider that if a majority of General Counsel in any single jurisdiction, read and applied a selection of the techniques in this book, the landscape of the legal sector and their lives would be positively transformed. That is not to say this is a book only for in-house lawyers and the many who work with them, including the decision-makers who can maximise their contribution. It is for anyone interested in the mastery of themselves and their relationships at work and the doors this can open, and as needed, close.

- Jenifer Swallow is a lawyer and advisor to legal and technology businesses, former GC at the fintech unicorn Wise and CEO of the government backed organisation LawtechUK

The Modern In-House Lawyer is something to be savoured - dip into it slowly and deliberately as Fenton offers a number of thought-provoking insights on navigating the c-suite and the boardroom, as well as on how to improve in-house lawyer relationships. Moreover, he presents a refreshingly original take on both in-house counsel leadership and the management of in-house legal careers - making this an important read for those who want to grow and lead, with authenticity and purpose.

- Mitchell Kowalski, author of The Great Legal Reformation: Notes from the Field

Reading this book is like being in conversation with Ciarán. Anyone who has spent time with him will recognise his authenticity. I like his direct style, the practical advice on relationship building, doing only seven things for seven dollars (not doing more for less), running the legal department as a business, speaking truth to power and holding that special role that comes with the practice of law in-house. As someone who aims to create an environment where others thrive, I particularly like Ciarán’s focus on finding joy and being happy at work 75% of the time, as per the title of his next book, Most Mondays.

- Maaike De Bie, Group General Counsel and Company Secretary, Vodafone Group

Every decade or so, something comes along that changes the narrative of settled thinking. This book is as generous as a Wainwright walking guide, as well observed as a Bryson travel guide and as punchy and insightful as any McCormack ‘What They Don’t Teach You at ...’ book. Fenton rests his views on a foundation of observing a generation of lawyers, and it is all here. If you are a lawyer, want to be a lawyer, are married to a lawyer, employ a lawyer, this book is not just important – it is essential.

- Paul Gilbert, director, LBC Wise Counsel; former legal director and company secretary, United Assurance Group; former head of legal services, Cheltenham & Gloucester plc.

Ciarán Fenton has created a one-of-a-kind how-to manual and self-help guide, specifically written for in-house counsel. This book is a treasure trove of relevant advice and helpful insights that is well worth dipping into repeatedly.

- Orla Muldoon, VP Global Business Development and M&A., Archer-Daniels-Midland Company

Just finished reading Ciarán Fenton’s book, The Modern In-House Lawyer, published by Globe Law and Business Ltd. Really sound guidance and insights - a “must-read” for GC’s.

- Russell Alexander, Experienced General Counsel

Ciarán Fenton’s book is a roadmap for growth and success. Any lawyer, whether in-house or private practice, solicitor or barrister, would find that it has much to offer. Fenton has developed a range of tools that offer a practical understanding of who we are, our purpose, and how we can navigate the tricky and sometimes toxic world of work. Extensive and informative footnotes highlight the breadth of his knowledge.

- Anthony Kenny, GSK legal director for UK and Ireland, Law Society Gazette

Relationships are top-of-mind for in-house lawyers today. Inherent tension in the relationship between in-house lawyers and their organisation – which is both their client and their employer – and the increasing scrutiny of in-house lawyers due to recent corporate and political scandals has put pressure on the management of their relationships with themselves, their teams and their employer clients. Furthermore, CEOs, non-executive directors and boards not only struggle to navigate their relationship with in-house lawyers but are also often unaware of the underlying systemic problems in the legal function and profession, which can adversely affect organisational sustainability. 

This book shows how in-house lawyers can better manage their relationships and how their client organisations can reciprocate. The main theme throughout is that reframing relationships, and then making small changes in them, can have a big impact on individual fulfilment, organisations and society. This title provides solutions for when specific relationship management problems occur, and key features include: 

• exploration of the evolution of the legal function; 
• diagnostics and tools to assess and manage relationships with boards, law firms and the ESG movement; 
• strategies to address common relationship issues with key individuals including the CEO, CFO, compliance staff, the group GC and other in-house lawyers; 
• guidance on allaying career concerns and dealing with an overwhelming workload which threatens work–life balance; and 
• the nature of leadership as it pertains to the legal function. 

Written by Ciarán Fenton, who has worked with hundreds of in-house lawyers as well as CEOs, chairs and boards all over the world, The Modern In-house Lawyer draws on the author’s own consulting experience and successes and failures in relationship management – including case studies demonstrating what works, and what doesn’t – and the insights of other academics and experts. It provides in-house lawyers at all levels, members of the c-suite and private practice lawyers with the principles, tools and models to manage their key relationships and enhance their work.