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Building an Outstanding Legal Team:

Battle-Tested Strategies from a General Counsel 
Description | Contributors | View sample chapter | View table of contents
Building an Outstanding Legal Team: Battle-Tested Strategies from a General Counsel
Author: Bjarne P Tellmann, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, Pearson plc
Publication date: April 2017
Format: Hardback
Length: 347 pages
Price: £48.00
ISBN: 9781911078203

In this practical “how to” guide, Bjarne P Tellmann, General Counsel and SVP of Pearson, draws upon more than 20 years of leading top legal organisations across Europe, Asia and the United States to provide a structured plan for upgrading your legal team in an age of disruption.

The challenge: In an era of exponential change, the role of the general counsel (GC) has become one of the most complex, intense and challenging in the corporate world. GCs, must lead, unify and inspire diverse groups of people across the globe with subtlety and diplomacy. The stakes have never been higher and the consequences of getting it wrong can be existential. GCs must react to these challenges with ever-fewer resources and at a time when the legal profession itself is undergoing disruption.

The response: To succeed in this “new normal”, GCs must become their own chief executives. They must lead, communicate, inspire, build cultures, manage talent, formulate and execute strategies, ensure efficacy, anticipate and manage risk and manage quality control – all in addition to being top-notch lawyers. This book gives GCs the battle plan they need to get there in three parts. Part I looks at the “hardware”, including how to assess risk, design winning teams, optimise spend, choose the best partners, and select smart technology. Part II focuses on the “software”, including how to nurture a world-class legal culture and develop talent. Part III considers two highly critical threads that weave their way through the transformational journey: change management and the need to develop a strategic roadmap.

While primarily aimed at in-house legal leaders, the book will also have broader appeal, as many of the approaches and principles are universal. In particular, law firm partners, lawyers at all levels and leaders from other support functions will find much to draw upon, as will government lawyers, suppliers to the legal industry, such as alternative service providers and technology outfits and consultants. The book will also be of interest to academics and law students teaching and taking courses on in-house legal practice.


Building an Outstanding Legal Team offers a fresh perspective from the front lines of the in-house counsel revolution. Arising out of Bjarne Tellmann’s deep experience and passion for building effective legal teams, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone involved in the critical mission of p

Scott Westfahl
Professor of Practice and Faculty Director of Executive Education, Harvard Law School

Tellmann’s book will help outside counsel understand the multifaceted roles the GC serves and the types of support needed from their outside counsel. It underscores the critical need for law firms to serve as strategic partners, providing a deep and concentrated level of specialised legal expertise

Jami Wintz-McKeon
Chair of the Firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Bjarne Tellmann’s book is brimming with important ideas about skills and techniques needed to be an outstanding general counsel.

Ben W Heineman, Jr
Former GE General Counsel, Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School and author of The Inside Counsel Revolution

How is the innovation revolution changing the legal profession? What do successful General Counsel and T-shaped individuals have in common? Why will change management play a critical role in your team’s success? A trailblazer and a recognised change agent in the corporate legal industry, Bjarne Tell

Robert S Insolia
Managing Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP