Being number one – Lexpert

Terrence Burgoyne

Mar 14, 2018

Osler partner Terry Burgoyne tells Lexpert that companies should consider a wide range of factors when hiring in-house counsel. In his article, author Brian Burton explores the challenges and demands faced by in-house counsel and the diverse skill set required to do the job effectively. Terry, a partner in Osler’s Corporate Group and General Counsel for the firm, explains.

“I’ve sometimes recommended that clients hire an in-house lawyer,” Terry tells Lexpert. “Where I think in-house counsel can be particularly effective is with recurring contracts.” He adds: “Where there’s no inside legal capacity, small contracts never get legal oversight and it could be the company has run into a problem. Most business people will know what they don’t know – and they’ll want to address that at some point.”

Terry also discusses the recruitment process involved in hiring internal lawyers and argues that businesses hiring in-house counsel should consider an associate from a major law firm over a new law school graduate for a variety of reasons; experience being one. Terry also talks about how “careers in-house are much more varied than they used to be.”

Terry says that companies seeking to hire their first in-house lawyer should approach the process from a wide lens in most cases.

“I think you want to hire the best person you can hire, within your ability to pay,” Terry tells Lexpert. “A company should be looking to hire someone who can grow [as a lawyer] and grow the role itself – but that’s a generalization.”

Terry adds that avoiding or reducing legal risk “without saying, ‘You can’t do that,’” is key to the success of every in-house lawyer. “You build credibility with operations people by finding a way to get the deal done,” he tells Lexpert.

For more information, read Brian Burton’s article “Being number one” in Lexpert.