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New CMS report aims to empower GCs with practical insights and tools

14 September 2020

International law firm CMS is pleased to announce the launch of “Creating connections and bridging gaps”, the latest report in its General Counsel (GC) series, produced in partnership with the European Company Lawyers Association (ECLA). 

Over the last 12 years, CMS has been working with influential GCs to produce a series of innovative publications to empower GCs in their roles and deliver value to their businesses. “Creating connections and bridging gaps” aims to upskill GCs by focusing on how they can position themselves as strategic advisors. This has never been more important for GCs than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-house legal teams are required to deal with existential threats to their businesses and play leading positive roles within crisis response teams.

The report considers how to build strategies to develop and succeed as a GC which can be applied to many of the new challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. It covers areas such as ethics, credibility, value and communication and connects different parts of the GC’s world. The report consists of 101 questions and answers to provoke analysis of their own performance and pathways for further development. 

As part of the report, 18 of Europe’s leading GCs share their real-life experiences and best practice. GCs will benefit from their practical insights into key issues, such as:

  • The increasing focus on innovation.
  • Retaining talent.
  • The changing role of technology including process automation, information sharing and keeping the business informed. 
  • The importance of soft skills to better understand and influence people.

In addition, based on CMS’s research and experience, the firm has developed the GC Bridge Model – a new practical tool to help GCs build strategies to succeed and to influence. The GC Bridge Model complements the GC Value Pyramid which CMS developed over a decade ago and which is still relevant today, to help GCs who want to add more value to their businesses. 

bridge chart

Jonathan Warne, Head of the Litigation and Arbitration Team at CMS, comments: “At CMS, we do a lot of work with GCs and this is the eighth GC report that we have produced. Through this close and extensive work, we’ve really come to understand both the challenges and opportunities of the GC role and this is reflected in the content of our latest report. The questions posed in this edition offer thoughtful and practical insights, to which GCs can return for consideration time and time again. Whilst much of the report was prepared before the outbreak of COVID-19, the content is perhaps more relevant now. Businesses are expecting even more from their GCs and there will be great opportunities for GCs who are equipped to deliver more value.”

Jonathan Marsh, President of ECLA, adds: “CMS have demonstrated a deep understanding of the GC role and we are pleased to have collaborated on their latest GC report. It is an innovative report in that it invites GCs with management responsibilities to learn about themselves and to use behavioural science techniques to better engage with clients and their teams. The report enables GCs to take time to consider their role and how others view them, vital exercises that will help them bridge gaps and create value. The interviews which feature throughout the report offer useful insight into the practical challenges faced by GCs and in-house lawyers.”

The “Creating connections and bridging gaps” report is available here