Inside the Blood Service: General Counsel

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Marion Hemphill, General Counsel and Head of Government Relations

What is your role?

I lead the teams that provide Legal and Government Relations services to the Blood Service. The Government Relations team is a service provider to all other divisions of the Blood Service providing advice and co-ordination services to build strong relationships with Governments. The Legal team provides advice on interpretation of the law and negotiates contracts that record our important relationships.

How did you get here?

I have been with the Blood Service for seven years and prior to that was a corporate lawyer in private practice and in Government agencies. I’ve worked in Australia, London and New Zealand.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Our work is all about relationships with various types of stakeholders, including governments and suppliers. A typical day would include working with Blood Service staff to understand what they need from stakeholders, and vice versa, and then advising on how to achieve those outcomes. For example recently Legal and Government Relations have been working with the Blood Service’s Innovation and Commercial Strategy to advise on the complex legal issues regarding a new project pilot and how to approach governments in order to obtain the necessary permissions and support. We also ensure that governments are advised of important common issues.

A typical day for the legal team may also include negotiating contracts with suppliers or our research partners or advising staff members of one of the many aspects of legislation that applies to us.

What do you see as the most important aspect of your role?

The most important aspect of my role is to assist the Blood Service to find solutions and ways forward that are within the requirements of law, policies and contracts. My team might have to advise that a proposed action is not permitted by law or under contract, but we also work with divisions and third parties to finds a way forward that meets the objectives of the Blood Service and stakeholders. The best outcome we can achieve is a ‘win/win’ with our partners.

How are you and your team working to better serve stakeholders?

We can best service shareholders when we understand their requirements and their ultimate objectives. We are working with internal and external stakeholders to understand their goals.

What do you love about your job?

I love it when our team negotiates an arrangement or contract that brings two parties with different interests together in order to achieve common goals. Sometimes negotiations can be tricky but when we reach common ground it is really satisfying.

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