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What was your route to the top? I was hired in 2008 soon after the Jaguar and Land Rover businesses had been sold by Ford Motor Company to Tata Motors Limited. There was no North American legal department left, and I worked to determine whether and how to build up a full-fledged legal function to cover this region. My title initially was Corporate Counsel but once I established an approved business case to expand the department and proved myself capable of handling the role, my title was updated. The path that led me to getting the job was not what you would expect. First, I had no prior in-house experience and had spent my legal career up to that point in litigation and transactional roles in other sectors. Some of my prior clients were automotive manufacturers and their ad agencies, but I had so much more to learn about the auto industry. Second, I had no connection to anyone at Jaguar Land Rover when I applied “cold” in response to an online job posting. I felt an instant rapport with all of the company executives I met, and I am so grateful that they decided to take a risk on my potential to grow into the role. Since then, I have built up the legal department into a high-functioning, efficiently-staffed support to the business, with four attorneys, three paralegals and one product analyst.

James Schroeder

 

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