General Counsel – Entain, England
1. How has the Covid-19 crisis affected the way you work as a lawyer? What are the key positives and negatives that have emerged out of lockdown?
What is most notable is that the crisis created a number of challenges and opportunities from the perspective of how we manage and progress our personal and professional lives. For lawyers who are leading teams, partnering on commercial matters, and navigating complex and high-pressure situations (even prior to Covid-19), this has resulted in unprecedented internal and external challenges. But challenges bring opportunities. And these opportunities have included creating stronger bonds between global team members, finding time for additional and new forms of training, reminding team members about the benefits of health and mental well-being, creating new efforts to work with clients and suppliers to mitigate economic uncertainty, finding new opportunities for the team to support functional and business colleagues, and being able to set aside time for free-thinking that has resulted in new and innovative ideas (such as the General Counsel Oath).
2. Will you and your company continue to use flexible and agile working in future? Will you reduce the size of your physical office space?
We have learnt that flexible and agile working is an opportunity for our team to find new ways of collaborating, responding to business needs, and being even more effective in certain tasks. The importance of face to face meetings and interactions with our internal clients will still exist, and therefore physical office space will still be needed. But this crisis has shown what is possible to achieve with technology, as long as we continue to focus on time management, being flexible when priorities change, supporting colleagues, and being conscious of using the most appropriate styles of communication and interaction.
3. How have you employed legal tech during the crisis? What has been successful and what has been lacking?
The crisis has given us an opportunity to accelerate and continue growing our plans in relation to contract and matter management system initiatives. While we have previously operated a number of approaches on a local or regional basis, our team is now moving to implement wider enterprise-level initiatives to support more fluid, consistent, trackable and real-time legal and compliance support for our business. We are also ensuring that our legal tech initiative is connected to a wider business and technological program, thereby embedding the team’s legal expertise and unique understanding of the business into wider commercial processes.
4. How do you see the advancement of legal tech affecting the legal industry in the next 10 years?
Legal tech will continue to be a key component of how in-house legal teams achieve their objectives, solidify internal relationships, innovate their practices, and support the wider business. As many businesses design, shift and upgrade their technological resources and platforms, it is imperative that legal teams contribute their strategic know-how to that thinking and advocate for their part in the wider evolutionary process.
5. Name one key thing that will be different in the legal profession in 10 years’ time.
My feeling is that the concept of collaboration will become more important over time as more legal professionals recognize the benefit of joining in wider collective action across initiatives that create and foster economic and social progress. For example, this can be a more unified (and therefore, more impactful) approach to supporting the objectives of bar associations, charities, professional groups, industry forums or local communities.