Five Questions with In-House Counsel:
Yasmine Kabongo Munga

Yasmine Kabongo Munga

I would describe myself as an “attorney-entrepreneur-mompreneur-divapreneur” who is passionate about excellence in all forms.

Upon graduating from law school in 2010 from the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, I joined a medium sized law firm and there I was exposed to the energy, infrastructure and utilities sector. It is during this time that I developed, amongst others, the passion and love for excellent services, through my principal I learnt to always put my client’s needs at the forefront and to consider the client’s needs holistically, not just the law, but the business of the client.

This journey gave me the skills to later pursue on my own, and I have had my hands on various other projects, including my own law practice which serviced small and growing business with the exact same excellence that is found in bigger firms servicing multinationals; I ventured into consultancy and later into the logistics and customs world before beginning my career as an in-house counsel.

I have worked as an in-house counsel for the last 3 years and as an in-house counsel for a multi-national business, I have had the opportunity to work across borders and across time zones. My reach is largely in Africa and this has allowed me to travel and develop myself into a global attorney and I am still very passionate about the excellence in my service. I see the business as my client and strive to be an excellent business partner, not just a lawyer!

Outside my work, I am a wife and mother to two young children. I have an appetite to pass on wisdom, guidance, insight, and understanding of life's experiences to those younger than me, hence I find myself mentoring young ladies in my spare time.

  1. Why did you decide to become an In-House Counsel?

    "I decided to become an in-house counsel for two reasons.
    1. The first was due to the difficulty of the work-life balance that private practice offered and the second was due to the monotony I found in private practice work and career patterns.

      In 2016 when my partner and I decided to grow our family I realized that there were some commitment challenges created and we struggled to keep the balance. With two very young children at the time, I soon realized that the juggle was very difficult. In private practice I was expected to always put our client’s needs first and my personal requirements always came second and with children added to the mix, it becomes difficult to make last minute cancellations due to a client’s urgent requirement. I found that many of my peers who worked as in-house lawyers generally enjoy a slightly better work-life balance and had the ability to maintain the family with the freedom that they had in almost controlling their work hours. 
    2. Add to the growing family, I became bored of doing the same thing, and although I appreciate the value in specializing, and that specialized attorneys are often guaranteed a successful career, I dreaded the monotony and thus opted for a more rounded experience that is offered in-house."
  • Is the role of In-House Counsel changing? And if yes, how so?

    "In my perspective, I believe that our role is shifting and that more companies are looking to having in-house counsel because the in-house understands the business, the needs and the direction that the company is looking to take. Instead of only dealing with the legal issue isolated, I think the in-house counsel usually has to deal with a broad range of general commercial issues and not only focus on the legal questions. Progressively I feel that the role of the in-house counsel become more of one that takes leadership in business decisions."
  • Describe your proudest accomplishments in your legal career to date

    "I am most proud of the fact that I am able to practice law in different continents and countries sitting from our offices in Mississauga. I am currently an associate regional counsel supporting the EMEA region, this has given me perspective of laws across Africa and Europe largely and thus broadening my global understanding and practice."
  • How are you leveraging legal technology?

    "I use and rely on legal technology on a daily basis, I wouldn’t be able to complete most tasks without the need for technology. It has become an encompassed part of the service, it gives me access to global laws, global legislation, global case law, and it allows me to reach out to various local counsels and partners whilst also assisting in matter management and archiving of legal documents.

    I am also particularly cognizant of the fact that technology allows me to stay on top of the business will raising my children, through technology I can easily work from home and I can easily access my office from anywhere in the world, thus there wouldn’t be freedom without legal technology.
  • If you had a magic wand and you could change one thing about the legal industry, what would it be?

    "I would change the rigidness of the industry in order to open up the doors for more diversity in the thinking, outcomes and demographics and more specifically to diversify the industry’s leadership positions."


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