Solve Business Problems, Not Just Legal Problems

This impact episode features Beth O’ Callahan, Chief Legal Officer of NetApp and the podcast host, Steve Harmon, the COO and General Counsel of Elevate.

“You take no risks; you make no money.”

This Impact episode features the Chief Legal Officer of NetApp, Beth O’Callahan, and the podcast host, Steve Harmon, the COO and General Counsel of Elevate. Beth and Steve discuss implementing change, how change can both motivate and challenge a team and that success should be measured not only by looking at metrics but at the organisation’s values to ensure qualitative priorities are not missed.

  • [00:46] – Beth shares her journey from litigation to corporate law and her current position.
  • [02:48] – Developing your knowledge of the business will help you support the legal needs of your colleagues.
  • [04:47] – One advantage of being in-house is you are closer to the business and the people conducting business.  Your role is translator or interpreter of that legal risk.
  • [07:43] – Part of leadership is assigning responsibility and a charter appropriate for an individual’s skillset and experience.
  • [08:28] – Contracts is required for first-year law students, but remedies is optional. If the remedy doesn’t matter, does the breach?
  • [10:55] – NetApp needed to reorient the legal team to support a new area. They used legal outsourcing resources to help right-size their organisation to support new areas.
  • [12:49] – Engaging underrepresented groups regionally required working with outside counsel, to establish different goals, for each region of the business. ‘Think globally, act locally.’
  • [16:49] – Some professionals raise their hand and say, “I want to go after this new thing.”  As leaders, our role is to make people comfortable taking risks.
  • [19:44] – When implementing change there’s a certain level of winging it. It’s not all buttoned up and drawn out with rules and responsibilities.
  • [23:22] – The way to assess good versus poor legal performance is to understand how your clients are being measured.
  • [27:39] – Evaluate opportunities to push things to legal operations. As a general counsel, we must address resource allocation, and how much of our internal budget is allocated to tasks.   There’s a finite number of resources and budget to allocate.
  • [29:32] – I could be your favorite lawyer if I agreed to everything you wanted.


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Podcast Transcript

Note: This transcript has been adjusted to improve readability. Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and human transcribers. The context and more than 95% of the actual transcript have been preserved.  We strongly encourage our listeners to listen to the audio.

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