Being an in-house lawyer is tough, so we created a community for in-house legal teams. The Bundle contains the latest need-to-knows from legal leaders at scaling businesses, courtesy of the community.
Being an in-house lawyer at a scaleup is hard. You're faced with:
😬 Limited budget and resource
🔥 Constant change in your working environment
😵 A workload that starts huge and then gets bigger
It can also get lonely. Knowledge sharing and networking opportunities are slim - unlike teams in engineering, or commercial, where headcount can easily grow to dozens and even hundreds, legal has to make do with a lean team of one or two lawyers, supporting the entire business.
The solution? In-house legal's growth community 🙌
It's for this reason we created in-house legal's growth community six months ago, exclusively for scaleup lawyers and legal operations teams. The community offers locked-down lawyers an opportunity to network, share resources, and offer support and advice. Plus, if you're finding life just a little too hard, we curate a jobs board to help you find your next role.
We've since seen it grow to 300 members, with the best and brightest legal minds from companies like Trustpilot, Robinhood, Spotify, Stripe, Klarna, and many more.
With so much going on in the community - from interviews with scaleup GCs, to roundtable events, to dream jobs - it became clear that keeping up with everything would be a challenge for members. Quite apart from the multiple time zones covered, there's a lot to take in alongside insanely busy full-time jobs.
That's why we created The Bundle.
The Bundle is a publication that dives deep into the questions raised by our most successful community events, and contains practical insights from scaleup GCs to address problems (both new and old) they face every day. Download The Bundle here, or click on the image below 👇
In the May 2021 issue of The Bundle, you'll learn about:
1. Legal's role in implementing 'work-from-anywhere'
At a larger company, that exists across multiple regions, implementing a 'work-from-anywhere' model isn't much of a challenge. But at a scaleup, with limited resource and stretched legal and HR teams, the dynamic is a little different.
But with remote working on the rise, and employees realising that they don't have to be tethered to the office in order to work effectively, how can legal teams approach this daunting project? What should they consider? And how can they mitigate the risks?
Remote's head of legal, Roderick van Vliet, explores the top three priorities legal teams should consider when adopting this approach to international mobility, and explains the complexities involved with each one:
Immigration: what are the grounds for staying in the country?
Employment: what is the local employment law in that country?
Tax: has the business considered tax residency in that country?
By working strategically, managing expectations, and understanding the rules, legal teams can ensure they scale successfully in this post-pandemic way of working.
“The rules themselves aren’t that complex. If you have that knowledge, you can apply it - but you need to know what the rules are”
- Roderick van Vliet, Head of Legal, Remote
2. The O Shaped Lawyer: becoming a true business partner at a scaleup
Here are the common misconceptions lawyers face at work:
Lawyers are just subject matter experts
Lawyers lack in sociability and warmth
Legal is the department of "no"
Legal is far too risk-averse, they take too long to get anything done
So when you're the first lawyer at a scaleup, how do you make sure you hit the ground running and prevent these misconceptions from taking root in the first place? Network Rail's GC Dan Kayne introduces the programme he founded as a solution to all these problems: The O Shaped Lawyer.
Dan dives into the attributes that make up the O Shaped lawyer, and explains how lawyers can implement these attributes in their day-to-day. By doing so, lawyers can break down or prevent negative stereotypes, and become a team that adds value to the wider business.
“If we want to be a value-add team, we need to understand that legal is just one piece of the jigsaw, and we need to contribute more than just technical expertise”
- Dan Kayne, General Counsel, Network Rail
3. When and how to scale your legal team
Scaleups may double or triple commercial headcount, but if you're the first lawyer at the business, your team likely won't grow in proportion. In the early stages, the workload might be manageable - but as the business scales, the sole counsel could find themselves with more work than they can manage.
The options are simple: either outsource to external counsel (which could get costly) ... or request another hire.
How should lawyers approach the task of asking for additional headcount? Relativity's CLO, Karen Klein, has had plenty of experience scaling her team at companies like Orbitz and Kayak. She offers her insights on both when and how to ask for a legal hire, covering topics such as:
Creating a business case for headcount
Leaning on important data to reinforce your request
Answering important questions around how legal headcount impacts the business
... And much more.
“Legal budget is often a black hole of uncertainty, but you can make it tangible by tying it back to metrics that impact commercial revenue”
- Karen Klein, Chief Legal Officer, Relativity
The Bundle: Issue #1 is out now - thanks to all our contributors.
Want to join the visionary teams scaling legal? Apply to join our in-house growth community.