Skills & Know-how

The Agile GC: Sarah Gaidzkar at PageUp

The Agile GC: Sarah Gaidzkar at PageUp

I first met Sarah Gaidzkar when she was Acting General Counsel at Envato, and she described working hand-in-glove with their tech team using ‘project circles’ and lean, agile methodologies for their legals.

Now as General Counsel at PageUp, I caught up with Sarah to get another taste of what running an agile in-house legal team looks like at her new home, and the tech tools they use day-to-day.

Equity Crowdfunding in Australia – Where Are We At?

While the promise of equity crowdfunding remains largely out of reach for most Australian companies (only public, unlisted companies can raise this way), there's no shortage of action items for startups and crowdfunding platforms for when it finally opens up to private companies next year. 

We caught up with startup lawyer, Alex Solo of sprintlaw for the latest update on where things are at, and the items that should be at the top of your to-do list if you're a startup founder or platform looking to raise cash from the crowd. 

Using JIRA to Manage Your In-house Legal Matters

Using JIRA to Manage Your In-house Legal Matters

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: 

How to Make Your Agile Legal Team a Success

How to Make Your Agile Legal Team a Success

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.

The Fine Line of In-house Privilege

Some good news for in-house lawyers – you can wear several hats in your business (and have some skin in the game), and still be sufficiently independent to attract legal professional privilege.

But as Leneen Ford at Norton Gledhill notes, there are still a few steps you should take to avoid losing confidentiality of documents or communications.

Here’s her take on Associate Justice Daly’s view of the issue more broadly:

“at one end of the spectrum are lawyers who report to the general counsel in an autonomous legal department, whose contracts refer to the lawyers’ independence and who act without any regard to the business operations of the company. At the other end are in-house lawyers who also act as key decision-makers within the business. In many cases, in-house lawyers will fall somewhere between the two.”

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A Decade of Change for In-house Counsel

As the dust settles on #CLOC2017 aka the 2nd Annual CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) Institute, COO at Yerra Solutions, Jerome Raguin reflects on how much the in-house legal landscape has changed in the past decade, and what’s in store for the future.

At a macro level:

“bar some notable exceptions, the industry is trending toward handling work in-house with increasingly talented legal staff as the default and resorting to outside counsel as the 2nd best alternative.”

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A Brief History of Legal Research Tools

From the early ‘90s to now, US energy law entrepreneur at PowerUp Legal (and MyShingle.com creator), Carolyn Elefant turns back the clock on legal research.

Drawing on her own 20+ years experience, including using the law library when starting her own firm because LEXIS cost $600 per month, she sends a polite reminder that while things have improved, we haven’t seen the promised revolution, yet.

In her words:

“As the saying goes, the wheels of justice grind slowly – and the wheels of legal research innovation even more, stifled by the WEXIS duopoly and lawyers’ fealty to precedent. Yet, finally we’re moving forward…”

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In-house + Hyper-growth

For anyone in-house at a hyper-growth company or for those looking to join a startup as lawyer #1, here’s a wrap of the main issues you’ll face (and how to deal with them) from four lawyers steering the course at Stripe, Lending Club, Thumbtack and Silicon Valley Bank.

On figuring out top priorities, managing counsel at Thumbtack, Steve Siger adds:

“I find that figuring out what to do and the order to do it in is, often times, harder than doing the actual work. It takes quite a bit of time to determine what ‘urgent’ actually means at a given company.“

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PR Crisis: Full Disclosure or Silence?

Here's a handy new column for lawyers who are their company's first legal hire, needing advice from an in-house lawyer who has been there before.

In this instalment, following the PR crisis such as Uber’s recent sexual harassment allegations or the Yahoo hacks or even the recent United incident, how should a legal department be dealing with the negative publicity? One of the lessons learnt:

"sometimes the best legal outcome is not necessarily the best business outcome (and that’s OK.)"

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