Featured Panel Member: Brooke S

We’re constantly inspired by the lawyers on the InCounsel panel and this month’s featured member is no different.

incounsel_featured_member_brooke.png

Meet Brooke: former Head of Business & Legal Affairs for Entertainment One Australia and a soon-to-be-published author of a children’s picture book.

We sat down with her to learn more.

1. What are you best at i.e. your sweet spot?

My strength is drafting contracts and documents that are easy to understand. Some people find it boring but I’m at my happiest during working hours when I am reading, drafting and redlining documents! I like playing with language and finding better ways to express things.

2. What’s the most interesting skillset or experience that you can offer a business or in-house legal team as a consultant/contractor?

I’m a creative problem solver. Gone are the days where the legal function was seen as a roadblock. It’s all about understanding what the business wants to achieve and working back from there to navigate a legally compliant path.

3. What have been your favourite projects/engagements/roles/clients?

I thoroughly enjoyed my year with Vodafone Group’s Brand & New Media team in the UK. The 120 mile round trip commute from London to Newbury (involving two tubes, a train and a bus in each direction) was certainly not a highlight but I am lucky to have been part of a great team, enjoyed a diverse range of IP work and had my introduction to flexible high tech working. I also had a great role as Head of Business & Legal Affairs for Entertainment One Australia (previously Hopscotch Films) for 7 years. While the role was not without its challenges, I thoroughly enjoyed the fast pace and the fact that every day was different. Film premieres and complimentary DVDs were an added bonus.

4. You established the legal function for Entertainment One Australia – what was your #1 learning from that experience?

I was feeling quite overwhelmed in my first few weeks in the role as I had arrived at a company with no legal systems in place whatsoever. We’re talking mountains of paper contracts in a pile on the floor. I am someone who values organisation and procedures. I had a vision for the legal function that I wanted to create and felt a huge sense of urgency in getting things done. My boss reminded me that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and he was right. Over time I built an organised high functioning legal unit but it didn’t happen overnight. The law is vast and it is helpful to set realistic goals by breaking tasks down into achievable and measurable components.

5. Are there any particular areas where a GC/CEO would be best placed to use you as a supplement (or in some cases an alternative) to using their larger/panel firms?

As I am a sole practitioner I can get things done quickly. I don’t need to get approvals as I am the sole decision maker for my practice. I can also offer the benefit of my practical in-house experience working for both parent and subsidiary multinationals and my experience working across three jurisdictions (Australia, the UK and New Zealand). In addition to being an IP generalist I also have media specific sector expertise. 

6. What legal issue are you paying close attention to in media/IP law right now?

I’m waiting for an appeal to be filed against the Supreme Court of NSW decision in Voller v Nationwide News and Ors [2019] NSWSC 766. Rothman J found that the various defendant news companies were the publishers of third party defamatory comments posted on their Facebook pages. This decision could have far reaching consequences not just for news companies but for all businesses operating Facebook pages which allow third party comments.

//

Brooke is available for part-time, remote placements and ad-hoc advisory work – feel free to get in touch with us 👋🏻