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The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

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Member in the Spotlight

Peter Garrow

This month we shine the spotlight on Peter Garrow, Legal Practice Lead, Customer Contracting for Telstra.

Tell us about your current role.

I’m in the Legal Team at Telstra, as the Practice Lead for our Customer Contracting Practice. We handle all of our non-standard customer contracts, so we deal a lot with Enterprise and Government contracting as well as our Wholesale and Telstra Health customers. As Practice Lead, my role is looking at how we can best and most efficiently provide legal support to our clients, to drive better outcomes for our customer.

What do you believe is the most important skill an in-house lawyer needs?

Commerciality. The value-add that in-house lawyers provide over external counsel is that we are closer to the business, and understand better its needs and drivers. We don’t advise on the law in a vacuum, but with an awareness of all of the other factors that affect decision-making in our business.

What led you to pursue an in-house legal role?

I believe that a happy life is a balanced one, and the value proposition in-house suits me more than private practice. I get a lot of flexibility in my working arrangements, much more autonomy, and access to some really diverse and challenging legal work.

What advice would you offer to in-house counsel in building relationships with their organisations

Building relationships is all about getting people to trust you. So it’s important to deliver on what you promise, to act with urgency and to get things right, but making things personal is what I think really helps – take your clients out for a coffee, get to know them, find out what drives them.

What is the one thing a law degree doesn’t teach you about being an in-house lawyer?

Just one?! Personal organisation and time-management are skills I have really had to develop on the job – juggling many competing priorities for competing stakeholders, keeping to deadlines, producing quality work.

What are the biggest changes you’ve witnessed across the legal sector since you joined the profession?

Technological disruption, without a doubt. Technology has been such an enabler, it is completely changing the ways we work and will continue to do so.

Finish this sentence…. If I wasn’t a lawyer I’d be….

… a backup dancer for Beyoncé.

I like being a part of the ACC Australia community because …….

It’s a great community! We have so much to learn from each other and through ACC I have met so many generous and supportive members of the in-house community who have been able to help me solve some of the problems I’ve been facing in my team.


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