In this week's edition, we look at some pay statistics for general counsel; how an ex Magic Circle lawyer took the jump into her own startup; why firms must change (while making more money than ever); how GCs can push diversity targets on their externals and Lexoo's pledge for mental health.
In this week's edition, the UK team speaks with ASOS general counsel, Andrew Magowan; we feature an Aussie-born startup looking to be the #Wordkiller for lawyers; we brag a little about our FT award and share Warren Buffett's "2 list" strategy for getting things done.
A couple of weeks ago, I found out that Megaport's legal team were using a project management tool, called JIRA, to manage their workload.
This is a tool that's super popular with software developers and associated with agile methodology. So when I heard about a legal team using this software, it immediately piqued my interest so I thought I'd get them share their experience using the software with you.
Here's how it went down:
Retirement village operators have come under intense scrutiny with the NSW Government due to conclude its enquiry into the sector later this year.
We caught up with aged care and retirement villages expert, Jessica Kinny from Kinny Legal to shed some light on what operators can do remain compliant.
Could a robot do your job?
That’s the question the ABC in collaboration with research house AlphaBeta have attempted to answer for every occupation in Australia, including solicitors.
Although I’d have to question some of the legal tasks they’ve identified as being easier to automate, what’s interesting is the comparison to other occupations, some of which I’d never thought could be automated.
Amy Wan is the former General Counsel of a real estate crowdfunding platform, Patch of Land, and a real estate securities attorney.
Her clients faced two common problems: #1 they needed their legal documents quickly and #2 the legal fees couldn’t be justified for smaller deals.
Her solution: use automation to help draft legal documents for small real estate projects up to $2 million.
Clients can now complete a form and receive a private placement memorandum (PPM) and other legal documents within 48 hours, signed off (for now I suspect) by Amy.
In her words:
“I didn’t understand why no one was automating the creation of PPMs… I felt like we could do it cheaper, faster and better.”
Here's a chart showing data from a sample of 133 Australian in-house lawyers with the combined title of General Counsel & Company Secretary.
If you're wondering whether females or males are more likely to take the combined role, the data says it's 50:50.
If you’re an in-house lawyer or GC thinking about how to improve your team’s legal operations – here’s one for you.
Frances Dunn is Senior Legal Counsel at Netwealth Investments, and she’s been using the ‘agile methodology’ to manage her legal team's workload for the past 14 months.
And from what we’ve seen, she’s absolutely nailing it.
So we just couldn’t resist the urge to pick her brains and ask if she’d share what she’s learned with you.
We’re so glad she said yes.
Anyone who has pored over legal bills striking out time entries might appreciate this piece of kit.
After 2 years beta testing with banks and insurance companies, IBM Watson has released it’s Outside Counsel Insights engine into the wild (although I’m yet to actually find this elusive creature on the web).
So according to the PR folks, here’s what it does:
it reads “every single word of text in every single line item of every single legal bill” to “see very quickly where a firm had deviated from the spirit and letter of the [company’s billing] guidelines… no more hiding inefficiency in a dense mass of billing data.”