Login to MyACC
ACC Members

Not a Member?

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.

Join ACC

Jason Arnheim

Member in the Spotlight allows us to get up-close and personal with some of our ACC Australia members. This week we are shining the spotlight on Jason Arnheim, General Counsel, Ego Pharmaceuticals, winner of the ‘Sole Legal Officer of the Year’ at the 2022 ACC Australia Corporate Lawyer Awards.

Tell us about your current role. 

I am General Counsel of Ego Pharmaceuticals. Ego is a leading pharmaceutical skin-care manufacturer based in Melbourne, and exporting to over 15 countries. It is one of Australia's largest private companies, having nearly 800 employees globally. In 2023, it is celebrating its 70th anniversary. I look after all legal issues across the group, manage the global insurance portfolio and government relations. Ego's biggest brand is QV, a favorite skin care product for people across the globe. 

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

The ability to lead and influence - there are a lot of competing interests thrown at in-house counsel on a daily (hourly?) basis. You need strong time management skills, ability to concentrate on the big issues and also be comfortable that you are not always going to get the outcome that you would like. To take people on a journey of getting to the right business outcome within an agreed legal framework, is very rewarding. 

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

At an early stage of my private practice career, I had a number of clients at which I started dealing with their in-house counsel. I soon realised that as a private practice lawyer, I would only be brought in at the pointy end of an issue or dispute, whereas the in-house counsel was involved from day 1. I was also envious of the business knowledge that the in-house counsel had in relation to the client, far more than I could ever obtain as a private practice lawyer. Besides all of that, I worked out that the in-house counsel seem to have a lot more fun, develop deeper business relationships and have more variety in their role and did not do timesheets - so I thought I should join them.  

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

Take a genuine interest in what your company does and the various roles within the business. It is important that legal is approachable and responsive. Taking an interest in the business from day 1 will help in providing advice that is relevant and takes into account the pressures that the business is facing. This is how in-house counsel can differentiate from a favoured private practice lawyer who may have been providing advice prior to their arrival and built up a following within the business.  

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

Soft skills - how to influence and lead within a business. When I did my law degree (last century) the in-house function within Australia was much smaller than it is today, so I do not think I even had a concept of an in-house lawyer whilst studying and I am not sure it was even mentioned as a career option. I take it that is not the case today. 

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

The growth of in-house counsel, and the importance that business people place on getting a '...view from legal...' The growth and maturity of the in-house function within Australia has certainly changed for the better over the last 20 years. Also, the way external counsel interact with internal counsel has changed and improved, with firms now realising that the in-house lawyer is not an enemy, but a valued client and partner. ​​​​​​​

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

A Trade Commissioner based in some exotic overseas place. I really enjoy traveling and being part of different cultures and seeing Australian businesses grow overseas. I think being a trade commissioner, promoting Australian businesses overseas would be a very rewarding role.

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

Being part of a professional body run by your peers is fantastic. To develop and understand best practice and to be able to network across ACC is vital when practising as a sole legal counsel.