From Legal Manager to Ahold Delhaize: interview with former employee Charlotte Florisson
October 25, 2022
May 10, 2023
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First of all, can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Charlotte Florisson and I have been working as Specialist Legal Counsel in the IT Legal Team of Ahold Delhaize since April 2022. I followed a bachelor's degree in Law and Business Administration at Leiden University and then completed a master's degree in Corporate Law there. Soon after my studies, I started working at Legal Manager where I worked for several large clients, including Ahold Delhaize.
How did you end up at Legal Manager at the time?
After my studies, I didn't really know what I wanted. Despite having done several internships in the legal profession, this was ultimately not something I aspired to myself. In contrast, the idea of becoming a corporate lawyer within a large company was something that always appealed to me. But then again, where do you start? My student advisor then pointed me to Legal Manager and it matched immediately.
What were your main activities at Legal Manager?
At Legal Manager, I was the central point of contact for everything related to corporate housekeeping. This could range from entity management and contract management to drafting decision-making (proxies, shareholder resolutions, and board resolutions). If, for example, a new director had to be appointed, I arranged the decision-making process and registered the company with the Chamber of Commerce. But I also sometimes took minutes during board meetings. My tasks were quite diverse in that respect.
You recently started working at Ahold. What exactly does your current position entail?
As part of the IT Legal Team, I work closely with the business and IT sourcing (IT's procurement department). We provide them with legal advice, review contracts, and conduct contract negotiations with suppliers. In short, together with my colleagues, I translate the IT-related wishes and needs of the business into contracts.
You were, of course, already very involved with Ahold Delhaize during your time at Legal Manager. How did that contribute to your new job?
The great thing about Legal Manager is that you get an inside look at the legal business processes of different companies. In addition to, for example, a Heineken, TomTom and G-Star RAW, Legal Manager also supports the Corporate Legal Team of Ahold Delhaize. That way, you learn a lot about the systems, the people and the organization within those companies. Ahold Delhaize is a large, international organization where a lot of people work. Through my tasks at Legal Manager I have already been able to get acquainted with the ins and outs of this organization. I think this has given me a head start.
At the same time, a job with Legal Manager also gives these companies the opportunity to get to know you better. After all, if you work with them for some time, they know what you are like as a person, how you work and whether you fit in with the team. So in that respect, Legal Manager is a really good way to put yourself in the spotlight.
Compared to your studies, what have you learned at Legal Manager?
During my studies I did learn what a shareholder resolution, board resolution or power of attorney is, but that always remained a bit abstract. During my work at Legal Manager, all those concepts suddenly came to life. In addition, the subjects at university are pretty classic anyway, so Legal Operations was also a new concept for me. I was able to delve into that much more during my work at Legal Manager.
And to what extent can you apply this knowledge and experience in your new role at Ahold?
I now work within the IT Legal team, which of course, also includes aspects of Legal Operations. Within Legal Operations, working and thinking in terms of processes is extremely important and that is really something I took with me from Legal Manager. I constantly try to ask myself why certain processes work the way they do and whether they could be more efficient. You are actually trained to think innovatively when it comes to setting up legal business processes.
In addition, Legal Manager really pays attention to soft skills. For example, think of topics such as teamwork, time management and your problem-solving abilities. Of course, such experience always comes in handy anyway.
How would you describe Legal Manager − as part of someone's career?
Legal Manager is a pretty accessible way to get introduced to the whole corporate world, even if you didn't study Corporate Law. For example, my colleagues at Legal Manager had different backgrounds; from civil law to philosophy of law. Through on-the-job training you quickly learn how certain systems or business processes work in practice. I don't think it really matters what your background is, as long as you are not completely unfamiliar with the legal field.
Furthermore, Legal Manager is a scale-up which also creates a certain atmosphere. The team is young and the organization is not very hierarchical. As a result, I always felt that I could give input and that it was appreciated. This creates a pleasant environment in which you can develop yourself. I am, for example, also extremely happy with how Jan-Willem (CEO Legal Manager) has encouraged my new job at Ahold Delhaize. I really felt that I was being awarded and encouraged.
What else would you like to say to people who have just graduated and are considering applying at Legal Manager?
Especially if you are unsure what exactly you want to do after your legal studies, Legal Manager is an incredibly good place to discover things. You get to know different companies (big/small, national/international, what clicks/doesn't?) and can divide your attention between the more practical tasks as well as legal content. In addition, it is a good way to introduce yourself to companies.
Legal Manager is really an ideal place to discover whether the profession of in-house counsel is something for you and a stepping stone to a great career within other companies.
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