Legal Lessons From The Swamp

March 7, 2024

Despite being a fictional character from a children's movie, Shrek can provide some valuable lessons for in-house lawyers about working with their business. In the corporate world, navigating legal matters can sometimes feel like trekking through the murky swamps of Duloc. But fear not, dear in-house lawyers, for just like our green friend Shrek, we too can emerge victorious! Remember, when negotiating contracts, it's all ogre 'til it's over!

Here are a few lessons Shrek can impart:


Stand up for what's right: Shrek demonstrates the importance of standing up for what's right, even when it's challenging. In-house lawyers often encounter situations where they must advocate for legal compliance or ethical behaviour within their business. Like Shrek, you should be willing to speak up and address issues that may arise, even if it means confronting uncomfortable situations.


Have and respect boundaries: Shrek values his privacy and personal space, and he expects others to respect his boundaries. Similarly, in-house lawyers must establish and maintain boundaries in their interactions with the business. It's crucial to assert professional boundaries while also fostering a collaborative relationship built on mutual respect and understanding.


Resilience: throughout the movie, Shrek demonstrates adaptability by facing various challenges and adjusting his approach accordingly. Similarly, in-house lawyers must be adaptable in their roles, navigating changing legal landscapes, business priorities, and stakeholder expectations. Flexibility and the ability to pivot when necessary are essential qualities for success in a corporate legal environment.


Embrace diversity: Shrek teaches us to embrace diversity and work effectively with individuals from different backgrounds. In the movie, Shrek learns to work alongside various fairy tale creatures despite their differences. Similarly, in-house lawyers should recogniSe and appreciate the diverse perspectives and skills that business stakeholders bring to the table.


Keep communicating: Shrek's journey emphasises the importance of clear communication. In-house lawyers need to effectively communicate legal concepts and advice to business teams in a language they understand. Just as Shrek learns to communicate openly with Donkey, in-house lawyers should strive for open and transparent communication with their business counterparts.

Overall, while Shrek may seem like an unconventional source of wisdom for in-house lawyers, his story offers valuable lessons in teamwork, communication, integrity, and adaptability that can be applied to the corporate legal setting. Just like Shrek, braving the challenges of his fairy tale world, in-house lawyers often find themselves wading through the swamp of corporate complexities. Remember, when your business colleagues come to you with their 'fairy tale' requests, it's essential to stay grounded in legal reality. After all, "Better out than in, I always say"—especially when it comes to legal risks!

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