27 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – SEPTEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM ROUNDTABLE completed the process of building legal departments and systems from zero to one. While such route of development is inseparable from the rapid development of the company itself, it puts forward more demands on my work and management scope in turn. In the process, the company’s leaders, benefitting from their international vision and foresight, have been helping and supporting me and asking me to look at my work from the perspective of a GC even though I wasn’t one then. Overall, the scope and departments I managed went through three development stages. The first stage is to expand from legal affairs to internal control, the second stage is to separate the compliance section from legal affairs and internal control, and at the same time, to clarify the overall management of the company’s intellectual property rights (IPR), for which we established our own IPR team and the third stage is to separate internal control and internal auditing from legal affairs and compliance, improving the management lines and responsibilities of the internal auditing department. It may be too early to say that I have been successful in my position. As I mentioned, the development of our department and the evolution of its functions are inseparable from the rapid development of the industry and the company, and the high-level requirements of the company’s management. So, I prefer to say what important factors may have been crucial for me to take on these jobs. I suppose there are three main points important to me. The first is the ability to learn. The role, function, and development of the organisational structure, will inevitably determine that I need to be like a sponge to fully absorb knowledge of the professional field as well as the business field and management skills, only by which I could accomplish the tasks with ease when taking new responsibilities. The second factor is a high sense of responsibility. As the company’s internal legal leader, such a position itself is responsible of managing some important risks of the company. I believe only with a high sense of responsibility and even a high sense of mission, I could seek solutions with the behavior of beginning with the end in mind when meeting all kinds of difficulties. The third factor is the capability of “founder thinking”. If you want to obtain support and understanding from internal departments and management team to accept, recognise and perceive the value of legal work, you need to think with the perspective of “founder thinking” to plan and arrange our work, so that the upstream and downstream relating to legal work could understand what legal is, how to carry out the work, and what it can bring to them. Yeo: Three key attributes: 1) integrity and ownership; 2) creativity; 3) agility. The second and third attributes are increasingly important for GCs seeking to run ahead of, and alongside, business strategies. ALB: Healthcare and life science are among the sectors where continuously strong growth is widely predicted in the medium to long term. Together with emerging technologies and novel legal issues arising from globalisation and supply chain challenges, what does it mean for the demand of legal talents in this space, and how is that reshaping your department’s talent strategy? Zhou: Indeed, the pharmaceutical and healthcare and life sciences industry will be one of the industries that will continue to grow in the future long term. However, at the same time, globalisation also brings more new issues, actually raising higher demands on legal talents in this field, which specifically involve the understanding of the legislative purpose, background and supervision scale of new rules and regulations, the knowledge and understanding of the industry and specific business depth, the ability and level of legal risk assessment, as well as the application of legal risk control measures before and during the event. In our department, the personnel composition is diversified, not only limiting to the talents with pure legal backgrounds, but also with a hope to have talents with technical backgrounds, financial backgrounds and business backgrounds to join us. Only in this way could we have a more comprehensive control and management of emerging technologies and new legal issues. In addition, we also attach great importance to identifying the connecting points of different teams within our department, and clarifying the responsibilities and control measures at specific connection points, to achieve the accuracy and consistency of information communication under legal management. During this process, the talents in different teams in our department will deepen their understanding and knowledge of each other’s work to achieve the longterm growth and development of the talents in different legal management teams, enhancing the value of the entire department and work in the company. Yeo: While there’s strong growth in the healthcare space via M&A, the expertise needed from an in-house counsel is certainly over and beyond mere M&A skilled lawyers. Due to the speed of growth in every imaginable direction, it is important for an in-house team to remain nimble, multi-skilled and being not afraid to get their hands dirty. The outlook for hiring legal talents is to keep versatile and keen learners with strong core expertise but join the team to be exposed to different areas of practise to continue to keep the team multi-skilled and confident to deal with new challenges. Nam: The pharmaceutical and healthcare industry is a prominent sector encompassing the convergence of technology, legal aspects, and government regulations. Due to the diverse nature of subfields within this industry, we often notice that the languages of each department are quite different, even within the same company. In this context, the legal department is required to have rapid comprehension of new matters and the ability to grasp concepts swiftly. Not only is coordination with operational departments crucial, but the ability to understand the fundamental essentials of contracts and legal principles is also necessary. We are enhancing the capabilities of our department through activities such as monitoring industry trends and conducting internal seminars to prepare for external environmental changes.