The Thai Corporate Counsel Association (THAI-CCA) was launched in June with a mission to rejuvenate Thailand’s in-house community and expand its reach across the region. Sahachai Wibuloutai (L) and Thitiwat Wisarath, co-founders of Thailand’s first corporate counsel association, share their vision for the organisation and how they are planning to tackle future challenges to achieve their goals.
ALB: What have you set out to achieve through the THAI-CCA?
Sahachai Wibuloutai: The THAI-CCA was formed as a member-beneﬁt professional organisation focused on three key objectives, which are community, career, and activation.
As we all know, the size of in-house legal teams varies by organisation depending on commercial and business needs, which are dynamic and subject to changing situations and requirements. Thus, the knowledge and capabilities possessed by in-house legal teams may sometimes be insufﬁcient to cover all areas of work and legal challenges that a company faces.
It is possible that small-to-medium-sized teams could encounter problems, difﬁculties, or tensions and sometimes feel alone in work areas with which their team members are not well-equipped. Also, working as in-house counsels requires not only technical legal skills to ensure compliance with speciﬁc legal requirements and all imposed legal standards, but also important soft skills such as corporate governance and ethical conduct, stakeholder management, people management, and crisis management to advise concerned business units to impose suitable problem-solving solutions to ensure the smooth operation of the organisation.
With the community objective and development of a diverse professional network, we believe that we can successfully create a supportive legal ecosystem that provides signiﬁcant beneﬁts to all members in terms of sharing experience, closing the knowledge gap, and providing regular updates on legal developments as well as regional and global trends in more advanced jurisdictions such as Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.
We will also include speciﬁc support to address diverse needs, such as industry community building for senior GCs, soft skill and leadership skill coaching for mid-senior level in-house counsels, and knowledge and experience sharing for junior in-house counsels. The founding members of the THAI-CCA aim to develop and modernise Thai in-house legal functions by introducing knowledge of advanced technology and AI legal tools so that our members can consider deploying the tech tools they deem ﬁt for their work functions.
ALB: How does the THAI-CCA plan to ensure that its members stay well-equipped with the latest legal insights and industry best practices?
Thitiwat Wisarath: The THAI-CCA is focused on the development of relationships and continued expansion of collaboration with law firms, regulators, industry leaders, as well as legal platforms and media, and other corporate counsel alliances in the APAC region. This will support the THAI-CCA in optimising our capability to share knowledge and recent developments in legal and busi-ness areas with our members and keep them up to date on the ongoing develop-ment of best practices and fast-moving trends related to public policy, the world economy, and the political environment. As a starting point, we already have onboard key members in the Thai bank-ing/ﬁntech, e-commerce, digital asset, hospitality, and pharmaceutical industries, who will jointly work together as an industry community and provide legal feedback and input to the applicable regulators.
To enhance the benefits for our members, we will continue to encourage collaborations and partnerships in both legal and non-legal ﬁelds, such as corporations, legal recruitment agencies and legal tech vendors. This will enable our members to tap into networking and learning opportunities, attend annual conferences and law award events, utilise legal databases, and enjoy other membership privileges.
ALB: How important is it for the THAI-CCA to develop the careers and networks for in-house counsel?
Thitiwat: One of the main purposes of the THAI-CCA is to develop and improve personal and organisational relationships among in-house legal counsels in different industries. Due to having strong personal relationships facilitated by the THAI-CCA, members of the THAI-CCA can share career and professional development opportunities amongst each other, which benefits members who are open for new skills, career opportunities and challenges. A legal team in a corporate entity may generally be considered merely a support function. Our strategy is to support the success of our members in developing their value. Our view is that the legal team in a company is also a business enabler, which plays an important role in the company’s business and success.