Susie Cummings, the founder of Nurole*, asks this in her March newsletter.
Looking at the data on the 500+ chairs and non-executives Nurole placed onto commercial and not for profit boards in 2021, she lists the 12 most requested skills and experience. No 1 is Finance experience, banking, audit; No 12 is Risk management experience. There is no mention of law or legal experience.
So should lawyers looking for a NED role be worried?
We don’t think so. Certainly there is a perception that companies aren’t looking for lawyers when appointing NEDs. The suggestion is that lawyers often don’t have the right skills and that they simply don’t bring sufficient value to boards.
But is this really the case?
If we were asked to list the skills we see in the senior lawyers whom we have supported in their transition to the next stage of their careers, as well as their hard legal skills and black letter law expertise, we would add the arts of persuasion and negotiation, people management, communication and listening skills, focus and self-motivation, teamwork and relationship building.
Lawyers often don’t recognise the valuable skills they have and they aren’t that good at articulating them. As a result they don’t always present well, whether in written application or at interview.
And it is not so much that lawyers need to learn new skills, although that may sometimes be the case, nor is it necessary to discard old ones: don’t believe the view that lawyers need to de-skill. Rather it is all about understanding what you already have and how best these skills and experiences might be applied.
If you would like to learn more about how Milestones will help you stand out in what is often a crowded market, call either Jane Harris (07973 488 539) or George Wilkinson (07875 570 365), or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Nurole is a global platform changing the way organisations bring the best people on to their boards www.nurole.com