In-house lawyers will not solve their problems by improving legal service delivery: consultant

Peter Connor says there’s a difference between being a business partner and partnering in business

By Julius Melnitzer | June 12, 2023

In-house lawyers will not solve their problems by improving legal service delivery. They must change their work and how they do it, says Peter Connor, the founder and CEO of Alternatively Legal.

With 40 years of award-winning real-world experience, Australia-based Connor knows of which he speaks. He spent 25 years practising law, both privately with Baker McKenzie in Sydney and Hong Kong; in-house as European General Counsel Head of Global Compliance for Citrix, and in-house as APAC General Counsel, Head of Legal Shared Services and European General Counsel, Head of European Government Affairs for Sun Microsystems.

In 2015, Connor founded Alternatively Legal, an international consultancy to help legal departments go beyond “just improving” by innovating and transforming themselves and their work. More recently, he culminated his experience by authoring A New Vision for Corporate Lawyers, the first part of his anticipated The T-Shaped Lawyer Series, now available online at no cost.

“I wrote this book because lawyers have a problem,” he says. “There’s been a lot of changes in the world in the last five to 10 years, and although lawyers have harnessed technology to help them work faster and at less cost, their capabilities haven’t changed. Even so, the vast majority are not aware of the changes, with the result that they’re not entirely satisfied or thriving, not fully appreciated by their clients who often see them as a bit of a burden on the business, and not really preparing for the future, especially generative AI.”

The only way for lawyers to add value in-house, Connor adds, is by being businesspeople. For those who suggest that the concept of a lawyer as a businessperson is now a cliché, Connor begs to differ, arguing that most lawyers misunderstand the idea. MORE . . .

Julius Melnitzer is a Toronto-based legal affairs writer, ghostwriter, writing coach and media trainer. Readers can reach him at [email protected] or


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