In this series, we shine a spotlight on a number of experienced General Counsel and answer your burning questions to help you on your journey in-house.

Our General Counsel from around the world are in the spotlight as they share their career tips, challenges and milestones on topics from diversity and inclusion to the move from private practice to in-house.


Episode 6: The role of commerciality in good leadership with Nilema Bhakta-Jones

In this episode, Nilema Bhakta-Jones, Group General Counsel for Kantar, talks about leadership and what makes a great leader, sharing her experiences of overcoming hurdles and managing competing priorities at work.

Inspired by her diverse career journey, she shares insight into her time working in commercial roles which enabled her to acquire skills that helped during her move into legal leadership.

Nilema is an Executive Team member and leads a global legal team responsible for delivering a global legal service aligned to Kantar’s growth strategy and priorities as an independent company. Before joining Kantar in 2021, Nilema was COO of Farillio, a legal tech platform for SMEs, CEO of Alacrity (a platform business for enterprise), and General Counsel of Ascential plc (250 FTSE) for 11 years.

Nilema also founded the Courageous Leadership Event to empower leaders to find the courageous leader within themselves and is a Board Adviser to Empathy Week. She qualified as a Barrister in 1994, worked for the British Government Legal Service, later joined international firm Simmons & Simmons as a litigator for 6 years before becoming a General Counsel.

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Episode 5 – Building an ESG strategy as an in-house lawyer with Matthew Gingell

In this episode, Matthew Gingell, General Counsel for Oxygen House & Chair and Founder of The Chancery Lane Project answers your questions around implementing an ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) strategy in your organisation; the role of the legal department within this journey; and how to overcome challenges when supporting sustainable growth.

Matthew Gingell is General Counsel for Oxygen House & Chair and Founder of The Chancery Lane Project. Matthew has been instrumental in establishing a new doctrine of Climate Aligned Contracting: ground level commercial contracts creating global environmental outcomes. He is widely recognised as an innovator who is helping shape the legal profession as a force for good. A lawyer, but not as you know it.

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In this episode Adewunmi Alode, G

Episode 4 – The role of legal innovation for risk mitigation with Adewunmi Alode

eneral Counsel at Lafarge Africa Plc, answers your questions on how to use legal innovation to efficiently reduce litigation cases, understand the role an in-house legal team plays in an organisation and engage with your internal clients. Adewunmi also shares insight on project management tools she uses with her team to efficiently and accurately meet her business’ needs.

Adewunmi Alode is General Counsel and Company Secretary at Lafarge Africa Plc, where she has worked for fourteen years. In addition to her legal qualifications, she is a qualified ICSA UK Chartered Secretary and she holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from Business School Netherlands. She is a recipient of the 40 under 40 ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards, ranked as one of the top 50 General Counsels in Nigeria and in 2021, she was recognised by the International Cement Executives as 'One of Africa's top 30 Women shaping Africa's cement industry in Nigeria.

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Episode 3 – Truly understanding your business as an in-house lawyer with Kevin Withane

In this episode Kevin Withane, Group Ethics and Compliance Director at TI Fluids, answers your questions on how to truly understand your business, demonstrate commerciality and showcase yourself as a true business partner. Kevin shares lessons learnt from his own career journey in-house as he navigated the business arena, built relationships across all business functions and managed the talent in his team; creating opportunities for himself, his team and his organisation along the way.

Kevin Withane is Group Ethics and Compliance Director at TI Fluid Systems, a FTSE 250 company, where he leads regional legal functions. He is the founder of Diversity-X, a community, fund in the making, and ecosystem to support underestimated founders that are making a positive impact in the world. He is also an investor for Clim8 Invest, an app for sustainable investment and a deeply passionate DE&I advocate.

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Episode 2 - Moving from private practice to in-house with Robyn Sandilands

In this episode Robyn Sandilands, Head of Legal at Pets at Home Plc, answers questions on changing your career from private practice to in-house. Robyn shares her experiences and the challenges she faced, providing insight and advice on how to manage your career at different stages of life. She advises on the importance of shaping your why when making big career decisions; plus how learning to ‘be comfortable with being uncomfortable’ is a key skill for in-house counsel.

Robyn is Head of Legal for Pets at Home Plc and heads up the veterinary side of the Group which comprises 440 Joint and Group Venture Veterinary Practices. Previously Robyn worked in-house as a litigator for Vodafone and spent a decade in private practice at Bevan Brittan LLP working as a litigator on commercial disputes and contentious regulatory matters. Before training to be a lawyer Robyn worked in Central Government and television.

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Episode 1 - Diversity & Inclusion for in-house lawyers

Matt Lepore, Group General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at BASF, answers questions on Diversity & Inclusion including who should be championing change, the many benefits of diverse teams and how crafting an inclusive environment is more important than numbers.

Matt Lepore was Corporate Secretary & Chief Governance Counsel for Pfizer Inc., New York. Before Pfizer, Matt was a partner at DLA Piper, and prior to that he was a trial attorney in the United States Department of Justice. Matt received his J.D. from Mercer University, Macon, Georgia; and his B.S. from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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