REUTERS | A man carrying an umbrella walks across the Old Town Square during a rainstorm in Prague, May 30, 2013. REUTERS/David W Cerny

Legal Geek 2021

Last week I attended Legal Geek and, embracing the new hybrid working world, my first day was online and the second was at the venue in Brick Lane, London. Although Legal Geek continues to focus on legal tech, and in particular start-ups, this year there were some interesting sessions that examined the legal industry more broadly.

On day one, Dan Kayne, GC (Routes) at Network Rail, provided an update on the O-Shaped Lawyer initiative, which he wrote about for Practical Law last year. It aims to drive cultural change that places people and human behaviours at the heart of a more modern, progressive legal profession.

Nicola Cronin gave some interesting insights into the value of mentoring, courtesy of research by her company Guider. For mentors, mentoring can bring new perspectives and meaning to their roles; while for mentees, the focus is on improvements to both self-confidence and salary.

Daniel Chin, GC at Arrival, spoke about being a sole in-house counsel in a fast-growing business. His talk was structured around three key points:

  • Don’t think of yourself as a lawyer. Instead, think of yourself as the head of a function within the business.
  • Build the function. The company wants trusted, timely advice and is not interested in how you know what you know. Acknowledge when you need help and access it, either via external counsel or by hiring a subject matter expert.
  • Stay strong. Don’t take things too personally and don’t worry if the business does not always take your advice.

The second day included a series of workshops and I attended a thought-provoking session facilitated by Ruth Cooper-Dickson on strategic self-care. She wanted to explore what boosted and what drained our wellbeing. There were several interesting suggestions from the floor and one that stuck with me came from someone who works in the legal tech sector. They take regular “tech-breaks” where they avoid using any technology for a day, which helps them to re-set and re-focus for the rest of the week.

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