The Rule of Corporate Counsel

Jon Downes, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Ace Group, Australia

Australia has seen a significant growth in the number of corporate counsel over the last 20 years. Companies continue to recognise the value of cultivating legal expertise internally, from better protecting company interests to more effective utilisation of legal services. Major corporates are attracting senior lawyers from top tier law firms, with in-house legal teams developing into experienced and valuable legal resources. With this wealth of in-house legal talent, there has been an increase in the sophistication of corporate counsel – with a changing environment which includes more aggressive use of legal process outsourcing (LPO) providers and effective use and management of external law firms. With this evolution, corporate counsel are having greater influence over the affairs and thinking of the companies they work for. As corporate counsel demonstrate their value, corporations’ expectations ever increase. This impacts the role of corporate counsel – the breadth of role being stretched to encompass company secretarial, risk and compliance. With a dramatic increase in regulation over the last decade, together with significant global events impacting on Australia, highlight the risks corporate counsel face.

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Australia Management Insurance August 2013 Vol. 6, No. 24, Summer 2013

Jon Downes

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Jon Downes Private practice - 4 years at Lovells in London, 6 years at Allens in Sydney, 6 years as General Counsel at First American Financial Corporation in Sydney, 2 years as General Counsel and Company Secretary at ACE Insurance, Australia & New Zealand.

Ace Group

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The ACE Group is one of the world’s largest multiline property and casualty insurers. With operations in 53 countries, ACE provides commercial property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients.

Australia Management Insurance August 2013 Vol. 6, No. 24, Summer 2013
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