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HSBC Japan’s general counsel on secondment, strap line, GCs new to company and panels

The general counsel of HSBC Japan features in a profile in Asian-Counsel, e-edition March 2009 at 38. Michael Hancock, while practicing at Lovells and before joining HSBC, took a six-month secondment with Standard Chartered Bank. A few years later he took a second secondment, at Nishow Iwai (now Sojitz). Lengthy secondments in two major law departments gave Hancock a wealth of experience.

HSBC’s “legal department strap line” (British for slogan or catch phrase) is “Facilitating Business, Managing Legal Risk.” I endorse its clarity, brevity, and order.

Hancock makes a third point that all general counsel learn who parachute into the position: “In large organizations, having a personal network or contracts through which to secure access to the right people and information when needed is crucial. I basically had to build this network from scratch.” Hancock dealt with one of the challenges that confronts every general counsel who has not been promoted from within.

“We operate a panel law firm approach, so that work can be outsourced to pre-approved firms who are familiar with our requirements, especially our desire to get good value for money – which has heightened importance in the current climate.” The British penchant for law-firm panels.