A quick chat with...Jennifer Page, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, Goldman Sachs
How long have you been on the ILANZ Committee for?
Since June 2016. I put my name into the ballot for the Committee as I was keen to get more involved and was delighted to be selected. I hope the current Committee can stick around for a few years and make a meaningful contribution.
What do you hope to achieve as an ILANZ Committee member in the year ahead?
I hope we can deepen the legal industry’s understanding of what being in-house really involves. I would like to see formal recognition of, or even a qualification for, in-house practice as a discipline and cement it as an interesting and early career choice.
What do you do?
Whatever needs to be done! I work on financing and corporate transactions, compliance and regulatory matters, procurement, and governance (having recently joined our New Zealand boards) – with a good dose of project and risk management. I am also our local NZX Surveillance Officer so I am also involved in some of our compliance programs.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety of what comes my way over the last few years in this role - whether it’s legal, risk or regulatory issues, or the business of running our business. Every day is different. I also manage a team in Australia and I work on transactions and projects covering different jurisdictions and I also like that geographical variety (made much easier and more seamless with technology) – although the time zones can mean some late night calls.
What is a career highlight so far?
Realising 15 years ago that I wanted to be working in the client, not for the client.
What are some challenges or issues you think that in-house lawyers are facing today?
Given the size of our market, traditional in-house teams (banks, government, large corporates) can be quite static with spaces coming up infrequently. The number of lawyers working in-house is growing rapidly across New Zealand – more than 2700 lawyers are now in-house which is 21% of all lawyers (and 99% of those are ILANZ members fortunately!). However, finding the opportunity to move in-house can be challenging.
Junior lawyers who are tech savvy and commercially minded need to think creatively about where in–house opportunities may arise (for example, tech focused companies, new types of finance companies such as crowd funding and peer to peer lenders, and other innovative smaller businesses setting up in New Zealand). Offer to do a contract to prove your worth and keep connected to a broad range of people as you never know where the chance will come from.
What are come fallacies that you have heard about in-house lawyers?
That they won’t do “real legal work” and they will work fewer hours than peers in private practice. Neither of those turned out to be true in my experience.
What are your hobbies?
Spending time with my 3 spirited, determined and funny children and enjoying their endless enthusiasm for everything they do. Travelling - both within New Zealand and overseas. I would like to take up weekend sailing again (achievable), spend 3 months in Canada skiing (a long shot), and find more time to read good books (unlikely for now). 2017 will be the year for ticking off a couple of New Zealand’s Great Walks.