In-house forum a spotlight on in-house counsel

Wednesday 2nd March, 2016 9:00 am – Wednesday 2nd March, 2016 1:30 pm
Law Society of Western Australia
Level 5, 160 St Georges Terrace Perth

In-house lawyers often find themselves addressing a number of challenges and issues including competing interests from stakeholders, maintaining independence  and increased pressure to make commercial decisions. The Law Society presents a half day in-house forum focusing on:

  • The delicate balancing act between providing frank and fearless legal advice and playing a constructive role in the core business of the company
  • Providing a practical technique for getting your point across as in house counsel and making complex messages simple
  • Treading the fine line between ‘adviser’ and ‘shadow director’ and managing your professional risk and protecting your legal role
  • Maintaining legal professional privilege as in-house counsel

Practitioners attending this seminar will receive a total of 4 CPD points across all four competencies. Morning tea and a light lunch will be provided at this seminar.


8:45am: Registration
9:00am: Welcome by Chair, Elisabeth Edwards, Senior Legal Counsel, Group Legal – CPB Contractors Pty Limited
9.05am: Session 1

From ‘Handbrake to Happiness’ to ‘Trusted Advisor’: Value Adding to the Board

Tanya Heaslip, Group General Counsel, Wright Prospecting Pty Ltd  and
Jan Macpherson, General Counsel, Brookfield Rail

Too often lawyers are regarded as handbrakes to happiness in the business world, obstructing and delaying the ordinary course of commerce. Tanya Heaslip and Jan Macpherson will draw on their in-house experience to identify why this perception prevails. They will present and discuss practical steps on how to change this perception, be part of the solution and become trusted advisors that are an integral part of Board strategy.

10:05am: Morning tea (provided)
10.15am: Session 2

Getting Your Point Across – Making Complex Messages Simple

Jamie Prell, Director, AdventBalance
In-house lawyers frequently engage with busy senior executives regarding complex and urgent matters. It can be challenging to get the message across in a way that is simple to understand and gives the time-poor executive confidence to make the decision. In this session, presented by Jamie Prell, you will learn a great method for getting your point across QUICKLY.

This tried and tested communication technique:

  • is easy to learn and remember
  • is a simple way of structuring your message for maximum impact
  • works at all levels – the more complex the message, the more useful it is
  • just gets better with practice
  • will make your colleagues love you!

11.15am: Session 3

In-House Lawyers as Shadow Directors: Managing Risk and Protecting Your Legal Role

Tim Kavenagh, Principal, Hunt & Humphry
The law in relation to ‘shadow directors’ and ‘de facto directors’ is reasonably well settled. However, just as we are often reminded of our professional duties it is useful to be reminded of the danger of crossing the line from carrying out a professional role and straying into a role that may give rise to other more onerous duties. Tim Kavenagh will examine the law in relation to shadow and de facto directors and draw on his role as in-house counsel at two different mining companies to give some practical tips on how not to stray into a director’s role.

12:15pm: Lunch (light lunch provided)
Session 4

Maintaining Legal Professional Privilege as In-House Counsel

Nick Cooper, Partner in Charge, Clayton Utz
Nick Cooper will summarise the law regarding legal professional privilege. Using case examples, he will explore the hurdles in-house lawyers face in trying to properly maintain privilege including in the context of dealing with commercial teams, investigations etc. The presentation will conclude with practical tips to help maintain privilege.

1.30pm: Session close

Level: All 

  • 1 points Competency 1 Practice Management
  • 1 points Competency 2 Professional Skills
  • 1 points Competency 3 Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • 1 points Competency 4 Substantive Law


Sponsored by


Elisabeth Edwards - Chair
Senior Legal Counsel
CPB Contractors Pty Limited

Tanya Heaslip
Group General Counsel
Wright Prospecting Pty Ltd

Jan Macpherson
General Counsel
Brookfield Rail

Tim Kavenagh
Hunt & Humphry

Jamie Prell
Legal Director

Nick Cooper
Partner in Charge
Clayton Utz

Legal Trainee / Support Staff (Member)
Legal Trainee / Support Staff (Non-Member)
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