The Leader Board - Leadership beyond the law

by Reed Smith

In This Issue:

- 01 Foreword

- 02 Introduction

- 03 Executive Summary

- 03 Lawyers are leaders and the numbers are on the up

- 05 Lawyer Career Paths and Stepping Stones to CEO Roles

- 05 Skills and characteristics of a modern CEO: our interviewees’ top ten

- 05 GCs and private practice lawyers: risk aware

- 06 The growth of lawyers in CEO roles

- 06 The CEO lawyer: a phenomenon across business sectors

- 06 No single path is well-trodden

- 06 The GC route

- 07 The partner in a private law firm

- 07 When is best to move: earlier versus later?

- 09 Learning, Development and Creating the Future Leader Population

- 09 The set up for GCs

- 10 The set up in private practice

- 10 The importance of on-the-job experience

- 12 The role of law schools

- 12 The role of HR, headhunters & recruiters

- 13 Recommendations

- 13 The business mind-set shift: from leading lawyer to CEO savvy

- 13 1. Adopt a broader perspective

- 13 2. Know the business

- 13 3. Learn to make commercial decisions

- 13 4. Let go and explore solutions

- 14 5. Adapt to quick change

- 14 6. Fine tune those numerical skills

- 14 7. Be comfortable to follow your gut instinct

- 14 8. Networker know-how

- 14 Action plan: the lawyer keen to branch out

- 15 Action plan: HR

- 15 Action plan: the legal community

- 16 Appendix I – Acknowledgements

- 17 Appendix II – About This Report

- 18 About Reed Smith

- 19 About KPMG

- 20 Notes

- Excerpt from Forward:

The current global economic climate, combined with high levels of corporate complexity, risk and uncertainty, creates a unique playing field for business.

This study indicates that businesses, whether on a global or national stage, listed or private, have increasingly appointed those with a legal background to provide institutional leadership through CEO roles. Such a development suggests that a legal mind provides the ability, skills and experience to take up leadership roles across the breadth of organisations. This study invites the legal community to recognise the value that is placed on its broader involvement in the leadership of organisations and provides discussion to increase this value further. It is not intended to deliver answers to every question which the reader might ask. Instead, its objective is to challenge, explore and ask questions in a way in which the reader may not previously have thought. Broader business leadership will not be aspired to for all those who enter the law. At the same time, those with a legal background have much to offer beyond the practice of law.

What do we mean by ‘legal background’? In the UK, we have defined this as the study of law and/or qualifying as a practitioner. For the purposes of comparative study we also looked at US data and, with this in mind, ‘legal background’ was taken to include any of the following: obtaining a Juris Doctor degree, admission to a state Bar, and/or becoming a qualified lawyer in a state.

A working group has overseen the development of this programme and the writing of this research report. The study is based on research across the FTSE100 and the Fortune 100, and incorporates insight from detailed interviews with several key stakeholders, including business leaders, general counsel (GC), law firm partners, human resources (HR) professionals, those early in their careers and, of course, members of the Working Group. Equally important has been the support of our partners, Reed Smith and KPMG, who have supported, challenged and led in their collaboration with this programme.

Please see full publication below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Reed Smith | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Reed Smith

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