Anil Fernandes, Legal Head and Company Secretary, Entertainment Network India Ltd, has been named as one of Asia’s best in-house legal advisors by ‘Asian Legal Business’ magazine, the only independent magazine dedicated to the latest legal news, events and developments in the Asia-Pacific region.
The recent accolade to Fernandes’ credit includes his contribution towards making the company’s IPO a success in a span of about five months from decision making to listing, which included among others a reduction of capital.
Following the trend in developed legal markets around the world, Asia’s in-house profession is growing in number, stature and influence as companies recognise the value of integrating strategic legal advice as part of the day-to-day running of their businesses – with the added advantage of cutting back on external legal costs.
However, this is not coming without a fight. In-house lawyers are being forced to justify the value they can provide, and bring about large changes in organisational culture to bring them closer to the role of forward-looking, strategic legal risk managers, rather than just advisors or dealing with company decisions after the fact.
These in-house trail-blazers are also faced with the difficulties of operating in a fast-developing, emerging legal market, marked by constantly evolving regulation and legislation, coupled with the associated legal grey areas – and even black holes.
However, as ALB discovered in its survey, Asian in-house lawyers are measuring up with their global counterparts, becoming heavily involved with senior management decisions and even going so far as to influence government policy.
In-house practitioners – in a blow to private practice lawyers – also claim to be gaining more job satisfaction from being more closely involved with their business objectives than during past private roles when they were kept at arm’s length.