Matthew Kirk discusses how the COVID-19 crisis affected the in-house legal function, and the extent to which the changes are permanent, with Anita Adam, Regional Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Molson Coors Beverage Company, Kenneth Schwartz, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, EMEA at Avery Dennison, and Andy Yorston, Head of Legal at Vodafone UK.
The discussion covered some of the practical issues encountered keeping teams motivated, bringing in new team members, and helping with the inevitable stress of working and looking after children at the same time. They explored the difficulties of giving clear advice when regulation and guidance were constantly changing, and how external advisers can help. The speed of change required a considerable acceleration of delivery, which had the effect of making the legal function even more of a strategic voice in the company. All three agreed that litigation was not the best way to adjust the supply chain, and that managing the human relationships involved in supplier and customer negotiations was a fine balance between commercial imperatives and maintaining important relationships – the latter all the more challenging when you could not meet people. The crisis has also accentuated some sensitive issues around supply chain and China, and data privacy. None of the three expected climate change to drop down the agenda, though all agreed that the “social” in ESG had come up the agenda. Asked about the biggest challenge now facing them, all three talked about leadership and motivation of their teams.
If you have any questions on this topic, please contact one of the presenters or your usual contact at Squire Patton Boggs.