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Rupa Patel is a female general counsel who has developed a successful career through several exciting general counsel roles, often as the first lawyer in the company. Working with prominent CEOs across a diverse range of organisations has given her many valuable opportunities for personal development as a leader of people. This places Rupa within a new breed of in-house lawyers who are challenging many of the old paradigms about what an in-house lawyer is and needs to be; paradigms that she sees as no longer being fit for purpose.

On the eve of assuming her new role as General Counsel at Awaze, GLL Ambassador, Catherine McGregor, spoke to Rupa about what aspects of her thinking had changed; the importance of inspirational leadership and why many of the old systems of thought and behaviours in the legal arena need to be toppled.

Catherine McGregor: As the role of the general counsel has evolved away from being predominantly a lawyer to be a business leader with legal training, how does that practically impact what skills prospective general counsel need to cultivate?

Rupa Patel: I think leadership is a significant skill that many of us still underestimate, particularly lawyers. For me, leadership divides into three core skills: emotional intelligence, influence and communication.

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