IHP101 Foundations of In-house Practice

IHP101 Foundations of In-house Practice


This subject has been developed around the core issues faced by in-house lawyers and the unique environment in which they must discharge their legal and professional obligations.

Serving the interests of just one client brings both opportunities and tensions.

With their professional qualifications, training, experience and ethical commitment to serving the public interest in the administration of justice, corporate and government lawyers can offer far more than simply providing legal advice. They can influence good governance and compliance in their organisation, as well as broader risk-management concerns. They can both act as facilitators for their client’s objectives and as guardians of their client’s long-term interests.

In-house lawyers must be able to communicate effectively and deal with all organisational levels up to the board and the directors. The in-house role also requires a thorough understanding of the risks the client faces in its operations. From a management aspect, in-house lawyers must today understand how to provide appropriate service levels, optimise execution and yet manage costs while achieving scale in both of these areas.

Professionally, the in-house lawyer must however be prepared to meet challenges to their professional independence and integrity. 

Specifically, the subject will:

  • provide you with a practical understanding of the role of the in-house lawyer in both government and the private sector
  • explain the distinction between legal advice and policy or commercial advice – and why this distinction is important
  • cover the in-house lawyer’s ethical and professional obligations
  • explain how to maintain your duty of confidentiality and your independence, and how to avoid, manage and resolve conflicts of interest
  • explain legal professional privilege and client legal privilege in the in-house context
  • explain how the in-house legal role involves managing and optimising the delivery of legal services, including the use of external legal providers and how to do this effectively, while controlling costs, and
  • explore the meaning and importance of corporate governance. 


Topics in this subject include:

  • Acting in the private and public sectors
  • Challenges for in-house lawyers - balancing role as facilitator against role as guardian
  • Drafting effective reports, advices and other communications in an in-house environment
  • Understanding the role of the director and the board
  • Understanding corporate governance and risk management
  • Balancing your role as facilitator against your compliance obligations
  • Managing your own risk – limiting your liability if something goes wrong
  • Understanding professional duties; maintaining confidentiality and privilege
  • Recognising conflicts of interest and duties; complying with statutory requirements
  • Briefing out: an introduction to outsourcing external lawyers; managing the relationship and costs


How to enrol

1. Download and read the Program Manual (PDF).
This document contains all the terms and conditions relating to your enrolment at The College of Law.

2. Decide on your program and initial subject/s

3. Enrol online



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