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One-Day conference: General Counsels In Business Corporation – No longer a ‎lawyer

During the past week a one-day conference was held at the Carlton hotel, on Tel Aviv shoreline, focused on general counsels role in the business sector. The conference was conducted by the Tel Aviv District of the Israel Bar Association in collaboration with ACC Israel – Association of General Counsel in Israel

For the conference full agenda please click here

Opening remarks were carried by Adv. Zohar Fisher, Founder of Robus Legal Marketing in front of an impressive presence of more than 150 general counsels. Adv. Effi Naveh, Chairman of the Tel Aviv District of the Israel Bar Association called for strengthening the relationship between the Bar Association and the general counsel’s audience. Adv. Ron Belkin, president of ACCI, elaborated about the multiple challenges which general counsels face, and called for those that had not yet joined the organization – to do so in order to get the support of this much needed and relevant organization

The first lecture“Trends in career management for general counsels in the Israeli legal market” was given by Adv. Vivian Shalom, owner of the boutique legal placement company of A-One. Vivian, who is working with lawyers for over a decade, discussed about the important points that concern the audience, issues which arise during the career path of each and every one of them

Vivian numbered several main reasons for professional mobility, and general counsel’s decision to move from one company to another, among others – a sense of utilization, the will to move forward, changes in organizations and so forth. Vivian explained that from her point of view, the ultimate time period to hold a position for general counsels is between 4-5 years, since in a shorter period then this; it is hard for the lawyer to become knowledgeable enough about its company sense. On the other hand, staying for a longer time can make it harder to find future positions and can create a sense of fixation

In addition, Vivian noted several trends in the general counsels market- a decline in salaries during the last two years, and in addition – we can see that 2015 has opened many new GC’s positions, many of which relevant for young lawyers

Vivian also raised the conventional ways of ‘finding the next job’ including the use of placement companies, online advertising, social networks and so forth, and especially touched the importance of networking

Vivian noted the difficulty in transition between positions and changing the practice field, yet – making sure reminding the lawyers in the audience that they are the most important brand of themselves, therefore, they have to improve, develop and keep ‘boosting’ themselves, regardless to which role they serve in the company. According to Vivian, the future result will be opening additional doors when thinking about futures positions

The 2nd panel “think outside the box: Dealing in a reality of tough competition” was led by the well known ‘national coacher’ – Mr. Alon Gal, CEO and owner of Tut communication training and results. Alon argued that the vast majority of organizations are working in a similar way, and added that most people liable on predetermined mindset and they are not different from their peers

Alon explained that the fact that all people have the same functions leads to the same results – and this creates the obstacle of true competition in the market. Alon invited those present in the audience, to start acting and think ‘outside the box’, and explained that most people don’t act this way due to the fact that the majority of their decisions are based on fear of failure

Alon explained that people continue to operate by predetermined mindset even when it does not suit them, as they are afraid of being caught by others as different. Alon gave a number of examples and anecdotes that show this is not the case, and stressed that those who think outside the box really earn. He reassured and explained that a success of an individual consists of his failures as well as to keep taking risks. Finally, Alon asked the audience to think of how they can express themselves in a genuine way and demanded that they stop think endlessly about balancing their lives

The 3rd panel, was a session on “Career development of general counsels” led by Adv. Zohar Fisher, founder of Robus Legal Marketing, and included key figures from the general counsels arena

Adv. Vered Raviv-Schwartz, Deputy to the CEO and general counsel, Fiverr, was asked how you can transfer yourself from being in a legal position – to a position which includes managing requirements such as CEO – and replied that an attorney who wishes to make such a transition is required to take on responsibilities beyond the ongoing work, to work with all departments in the organization and to show his contribution to all the company’s business development

Adv. Ayala Barler Shapira, Senior Legal Advisor, Amdocs, was asked how general counsels can cope with the ongoing danger of dismissal. She replied that the answer lies in the added value that a general counsel can bring to his organization. According to Ayala, it is important that all general counsels will present their managers not only with problems, but also with their suggested solutions. She emphasized that in large organizations, the employee’s reputation quickly getting up to the board, and therefore a good legal work can create new exciting opportunities

Adv. Tali Mirsky, Vice President Legal Affairs, Company Secretary and GC, Frutarom, was asked whether the general counsel career path position requires passing through a law firm. Tali return a positive response, saying that passing through a law firm provides the attorney with broad perspective. She stressed that for an attorney, beginning his legal career in a law firm allows him to actually study the legal profession in an optimal way, while it enabled much less to those who chose to start directly as GC’s

Adv. Nitzan Shaham, Advisor to the legal deputy EMEA, in-house GC, Oracle, was asked how an attorney demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit and ‘outside the box’ thinking in a big organization that includes hundreds of lawyers such as Oracle. Nitzan said that attorneys are not receiving a detailed career planning map for a year or two ahead. Therefore, the lawyer’s ability to express himself in his current role is very important. According to Nitzan, entrepreneurial skills lies on the ability of the attorney to show the management where there is a need for additional investment and being able to take it upon himself – “The opportunities won’t always come on their own, the attorney must act with entrepreneurial approach and offer his organization to carry out new actions” said Nitzan

Finally, Adv. Donna Rahav, GC and Company Secretary, Cyber-Ark, was asked about the importance of creating inter-organizational relationships. Donna replied that she devoted much effort for networking activities both internal and external, and explained that social networking with your colleagues as well as with GC’s in other organizations, provide a great added value to the work of the general counsel and allows it to respond better to legal problems in his organization. Donna called the general counsels to stop eating lunch in front of their computer, and instead to have meals with their colleagues, join conferences and other company events

The final lecture was given by Prof. Sharon Hannes, Tel Aviv University, in a lecture which dealt with the question “Where Corporate Law reform brought us to?“. Sharon briefly touched the regulatory reforms in the corporate law, and presented the audience with a research dealing with the question of control premium imposed on Israeli company owners. According to the research data from 2000’s, the average control premium in Israel was 27%, a figure that placed our country at the same category with financially struggled countries such as Brazil and Turkey

According to Sharon, and based on a similar study conducted by him, following the increased enforcement on pyramid structure companies and other reforms in this sector, the findings show that the average control premium decreased drastically and now stands at only 4.24%. This figure indicates that the problem of power concentration of held by company owners was addressed with a proper solution

The conference participates enjoyed a delightful lunch on the seashore at the hotel restaurant. Thanks to the extensive participation and the wide range of topics, the participants were exposed not only to the fascinating legal content, but also had the opportunity for a meaningful networking which enables them to deepen their business relationships. See you at the next event

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