What Makes an Outstanding Secondee

We recently welcomed David Lancelot (Former VP Global Head of Legal at eBay Classifieds) to begin a series of presentations at our regular All Hands meetings. David’s expertise is of great value to our attorneys and clients alike, and in this extract, he identifies the values our secondees espouse.

In today’s fast-paced business world, the role of in-house legal departments has evolved significantly. Companies now expect their legal teams to go beyond providing legal advice and support; they want strategic partners who understand the business landscape and contribute to its success.


One crucial characteristic of an exceptional secondee is their alignment with the philosophy of modern, effective in-house legal support. These professionals understand that their role extends beyond the narrow confines of legal expertise. They recognize the need to integrate legal considerations seamlessly with the broader business strategy, effectively becoming strategic advisors to the company.

Business-People with Legal Skills

Outstanding secondees possess a unique combination of legal skills and business acumen. They bring valuable business experience to the table, often holding an MBA or having worked in key operational roles. This blend of legal and business knowledge enables them to offer insights and recommendations that align legal objectives with overarching business goals.

Highly integrated into the business

Being highly integrated into the business is a hallmark of exceptional secondees. They possess strong emotional intelligence (EQ), allowing them to establish rapport and build trust with stakeholders at all levels of the organization. Their charisma and enthusiasm for the company’s products or services create a sense of shared purpose, fostering collaboration and enabling them to work seamlessly across departments.

Speak the language of the business

Outstanding secondees understand the importance of speaking the language of the business. They are familiar with legal and business key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics, benchmarking, reporting requirements, and budgeting processes. By articulating legal concepts and solutions in a business-oriented manner, they bridge the gap between the legal and non-legal functions, facilitating effective communication and decision-making.

Capable of scaling

An exceptional secondee is not content with maintaining the status quo. They actively seek opportunities to scale both the legal function and the organization as a whole. By anticipating future needs and identifying areas for improvement, they contribute to the growth and development of the company. They are not only reactive problem solvers but also proactive change agents, driving innovation and efficiency within the legal department.


Outstanding secondees adopt a proactive approach to risk management. Instead of merely reacting to legal issues as they arise, they actively seek ways to eliminate or mitigate potential risks before they become problems. They employ preventive strategies, such as implementing robust compliance programs, conducting regular audits, and providing proactive legal guidance, thus minimizing legal obstacles and contributing to the company’s overall success.

Understands the value of Legal Operations and LegalTech

Recognizing the value of legal operations and technology is another trait that sets secondees apart. Legal Ops is the Engine Room of the transformation of the in-house legal function. The processes, policies and products they choose, deploy and manage allow the legal function to scale and accelerate the business.  Outstanding secondees partner with Legal Ops closely to leverage the innovation and acceleration Ops brings to the entire business.

Recommended Reading:

Building an Outstanding Legal Team – Bjarne Tellman

Running Legal like a Business – Connie Brenton


Providentia is a tech law firm that’s designed to provide counsel and services which are tailored to the needs of tech companies. We take an integrated approach to legal services, working directly with your team to provide comprehensive strategies that go beyond traditional legal analysis.


Fill out the form below to schedule a consultation to learn more about the advisory and legal services Providentia can deliver to your business.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Related insights from the Providentia team.

Get in touch

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.