Fiona Edmundson, Head of legal (South Africa) at Anglo American, is another of the top legal minds who will be speaking at the GC Forum which will be run as part of the wider Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town in early May.
Edmundson started with Anglo American’s group legal department in 2010, and her career has mainly been focused on mergers and acquisitions and aspects of general commercial law. She has been quoted as saying she believes in being “an accessible leader who exercises quiet diplomacy”.
Africa Legal asked her a few questions to find out more about this dynamic legal practitioner in the leadup to the GC Forum.
Q: What words spring to mind when considering what your role as an in-house counsel in African mining has been like whilst the world navigates the pandemic? A: Agile, growth mindset, resilience, compassion.
Q: What, to your mind, are some of the most pervasive skills gaps amongst mining lawyers which the community should be seeking to remedy? A: In South Africa, it would be the “S” in ESG, specifically Indigenous Law and community engagement skills. Communities are key stakeholders in our business, and it is vital that we understand how community leadership/traditional authorities operate and the regulatory landscape governing traditional authorities. A lack of understanding hampers effective engagement and creates risk. In dealing with legal matters with communities it is vital that we don’t over-lawyer.
Q: Has your career taken the path you expected it to when you first moved into an in-house position? A: Honestly, no. When I joined Anglo American Group Legal 12 years ago, I never imagined that I would end up leading the team. The support and encouragement of my husband and family as well as mentorship I have had from key colleagues has given me the platform to develop my career in a way I had not imagined. I have also been a commercial/mergers & acquisitions attorney for most of my career, but Covid has led me to upskill in areas of law that I would not otherwise have done.
Q: What behaviour or practice would you have all private practice legal advisers be forced to drop, as if by magic, overnight? A: The use of “legalese” and long opinions where you have to wade through pages of case law citations and commentary before you find the answer on the last page.
To register to attend the GC Forum in Cape Town on 12 May 2022, please register in person at the CTICC.
To join Africa Legal's mailing list please clickhere
Copyright : Re-publication of this article is authorised only in the following circumstances; the writer and Africa Legal are both recognised as the author and the website address www.africa-legal.com and original article link are back linked. A bio for the writer can be provided on request.