Northern exposure – The Scots GC debate

Northern exposure – The Scots GC debate

Earlier this year, Legal Business ventured north of the border to highlight the community of commercial counsel flourishing in Scotland in an extended feature. To follow up, this autumn we teamed up with Addleshaw Goddard to gather a panel of senior general counsel (GCs) at Edinburgh’s Signet Library in Parliament Square to debate a range of related issues to an audience of over 60 in-house counsel. With Brexit on the agenda, a changing legal profession and Scotland’s economy striving to reinvent itself for an increasingly-globalised age, there was plenty to talk about.

***

Alex Novarese, Legal Business: In recent years, the Scots economy has tracked a little behind the UK. How confident are people feeling now in a turbulent time for business? Continue reading “Northern exposure – The Scots GC debate”

Fresh starts – inside the pioneering US school training lawyers on the start-up community

Fresh starts – inside the pioneering US school training lawyers on the start-up community

Look out law schools, there is a disrupter in town. Naturally, that town is Silicon Valley, the home of innovation. And the innovator in question is University of California Berkeley, which includes a leading US law school, renowned for its prowess in technology and IP.

It might seem natural that Berkeley Law’s proximity to the Bay Area tech hub would lead to an inventive approach to legal education. This idea certainly drew Hannah Porter, a former entrepreneur, to enrol at Berkeley Law in 2015. Continue reading “Fresh starts – inside the pioneering US school training lawyers on the start-up community”

Back to the drawing board

Back to the drawing board

You wouldn’t mistake a lawyer for a designer. One is usually armed with a pen and a rulebook, the other with a Mac and a black turtleneck. Right? Wrong.

Design concepts have been around in business for decades. Global design consultancy IDEO, famous for creating the iconic first Apple mouse, is often credited as being the first to reposition design from a ‘beautiful wrapper’ around a previously developed concept, to a system for creating ideas that can be applied not just to processes, but systems and even organisations. Continue reading “Back to the drawing board”

Education, education, education – the struggle to find quality GC training

Education, education, education – the struggle to find quality GC training

Speaking at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum recently, renowned industry futurologist Richard Susskind accused the UK’s law schools of being stuck in the 1970s, preparing graduates to undertake work that will become increasingly uncommon while failing to train aspiring solicitors in the new technologies that will replace much of the work lawyers now do.

He has a point. Dutch start-up Clocktimizer recently compiled a list of legal tech courses available in English – of the 37 courses currently being offered, just four are taught in the UK (one of which, the Legal Geek Hackathon, is delivered extramurally). Continue reading “Education, education, education – the struggle to find quality GC training”

Client profile: Rushad Abadan, Standard Life Aberdeen

Client profile: Rushad Abadan, Standard Life Aberdeen

The general counsel of the Scots-based investment giant reflects on the lessons of the financial crisis and what it takes to run a FTSE 100 legal team

Rushad Abadan always knew what he wanted to do with his life. ‘I always fancied the idea of being a lawyer, even at school. I was one of those people who was very clear about their career path early on. Happily for me it worked out.’ Continue reading “Client profile: Rushad Abadan, Standard Life Aberdeen”

The new front

The new front

As expected – or feared – implementing the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a mammoth task for some companies. ‘It is all-encompassing,’ says Karen Kerrigan, chief legal officer at equity crowdfunding firm Seedrs. ‘The advantage of being a small business is that you can involve all the other departments. Frankly, I would be terrified of GDPR if I was at a large business, because you have to take a much more decisive risk-based approach in terms of what you are physically able to look at. We were able to sit down with our development team, our marketing team and our investments team, and go through every single one of their activities and the service providers they were using.’

To say GDPR will have wide implications for in-house teams is an understatement. It is unlikely that there will be any client or any part of a client’s business that will remain unaffected by the EU regulation, which has a deadline for implementation of 25 May 2018. Continue reading “The new front”

The new space race

The new space race

‘For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace.’
John F Kennedy

When President John F Kennedy stood before Rice University on 12 September 1962 and boldly declared that not only would the US be the first country to land on the moon, but they would do it before the end of the decade, he captured the imagination of a generation. Continue reading “The new space race”

GC 2.0 – The GC Powerlist Summer Reception

GC 2.0 – The GC Powerlist Summer Reception

Do you know your cash-burn phase from your TLDNR? Welcome to the buccaneering, hierarchy-lite world of the fast-growth, tech-driven ‘disruptors’, the kind of business that a growing number of lawyers aspire to work in or advise.

Following the launch earlier this year of the 2017 GC Powerlist, which focused on early-stage companies and rising stars at major plcs, we teamed up with DLA Piper to assemble an audience of more than 70 in-house counsel at London’s private members’ club Home House for an informal discussion from the lawyers working at the digital coal-face. The debate covered the launch of the much-touted Disruptive GC group, the challenges of working with impatient entrepreneurs and how lawyers can slot into the culture of a constantly-evolving company. Continue reading “GC 2.0 – The GC Powerlist Summer Reception”

Client profile: Mark Maurice-Jones, Nestlé

Client profile: Mark Maurice-Jones, Nestlé

Unusually for the current UK and Ireland general counsel (GC) of Swiss multinational and famed KitKat creator Nestlé, Mark Maurice-Jones’ career started in teaching.

Armed with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Cambridge that he was unsure how to utilise, Maurice-Jones opted for a year-and-a-half-long stint in Hong Kong teaching maths, physics and chemistry. But ultimately he found the pull of a career in the law more alluring. Continue reading “Client profile: Mark Maurice-Jones, Nestlé”

The cutting edge

The cutting edge

During Apple’s earnings conference call in May, chief executive Tim Cook discussed the company’s long-running and bitter dispute with Qualcomm, a company that manufactures internal components for the iPhone.

‘Qualcomm is trying to charge Apple a percentage of the total iPhone value. They do some great work around standard-essential patents, but Qualcomm’s component is only one small part of the iPhone. We don’t think that’s right, so we’re taking a principled stand on it and we strongly believe we’re in the right. I am sure they think they’re in the right, and that’s what courts are for.’
Continue reading “The cutting edge”