E5: Coca-Cola Amatil's
Legal Transformation

with Richard Conway, Deputy Group
General Counsel & Group Company Secretary

E5: Coca-Cola Amatil's Legal Transformation Journey

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On today’s episode we have Richard Conway, who takes the prize of “longest professional title” from our last episode’s guest Jorden Lam. He is the Deputy Group General Counsel & Group Company Secretary of Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), an ASX listed beverage manufacturer and distributor and leading Asia-Pacific bottler of Coca-Cola products.

In his role, Richard leads the legal team at Coca-Cola Amatil, and has spearheaded the digital transformation of the legal team. Richard is one of the most hands on legal leaders I know – many of the initiatives Richard mentions in this episode, he directly drove. In the case of Checkbox, became a power user and not only built out his own complex solutions, he helped assist and train other users across other functions including procurement and people & culture.

In understanding why Richard and the CCA legal team turned to technology, you’ll first hear about the core challenges that they faced. And for those of you interested in legal transformation, the challenges of “doing more with less” aren’t new. Though CCA’s legal team found interesting ways to address them – which you’ll hear more of from this episode.

We tried to cover things CCA’s digital transformation broadly in today’s episode, but if case studies are your thing and you’d love to dive deeper into the work that we did the Coca-Cola Amatil Legal team, head on over to the Checkbox website at Checkbox.ai

With that said, we hope you enjoy the episode!

If you would like to connect with the show host of guest you can find them at:

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  • If you enjoyed the show, we would love if you could leave us a 5-star rating or written review to help get the word out!
  • If you have a digital transformation story (or know someone who does) feel free to email us at outsidethebox@checkbox.ai – we’d love to hear from you.

Transcript:

[00:00:00] Hey listeners. Welcome back to outside the box, the podcast exploring digital service transformation. On today’s episode, we have Richard Conway who takes the prize of longest professional title. From our last episodes guest Jordan, that Richard is the deputy group general counsel and group company, secretary of Coca Cola. 

[00:00:22] One of the world’s most well-recognized beverage companies in his role, Richard leads the legal team at Coca-Cola Amatil the Australian branch of Coca-Cola and is spearheaded the digital transformation of the legal team. Now, Richard is one of the most hands on legal leaders that I know. Many of the initiatives. 

[00:00:41] Richard mentioned in this episode, he directly drove. And in the case of checkbox, he became a power user and not only built up his own complex solutions, he actually helped assist and train other users across other functions, including procurement. As well as people in culture in understanding why Richard and the CCA legal team turned to technology, you first hear about the core challenges that they faced. 

[00:01:05] And for those of you interested in legal transformation, the phrase doing more with less, isn’t a new phrase, though. What you will hear is some creative ways of how CCAs legal team used and leveraged their existing resources to tackle their problems. Which you hear more of in this episode now, in today’s episode, we try to broadly cover CCAs digital transformation journey. 

[00:01:27] But if you’d like to dive into the details around the work that we as checkbox did with Coca Cola specifically, there’s a case study that we’ve written together, which you can find on our website at checkbox.ai. But that said, we hope you enjoy the episode. 

[00:01:44] Hi listeners. Welcome to the outside the box podcast. My name is min and alongside when we have a wonderful guest, his name is Richard. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you very much for having me min. No problem. And um, now Richard is the deputy Group General Counsel and Group Company Secretary of Coca-Cola Amatil. 

[00:02:00] Have I said that, right? Yes. Congratulations. You got the whole thing. Yeah, I cheated a little bit. You can, you can’t see this, but I’ve got my phone in front of me because the title is so long, but welcome to the show. Thank you. Awesome. So just to kick us off, um, we’d love to start with an icebreaker question, which is what is one book, movie, or TV show that you’re currently reading or watching right now? 

[00:02:23] Uh, so I’m reading Lamees Rob’s at the moment, which is a book movie and TV shows. So I’ve ticked all three of those. So, um, finally going back to the source of their. Watching the musical, watching the movie TV series, et cetera. So it’s a bit longer when you go back to the source. Um, how, how big is the book? 

[00:02:43] You’re reading the book, right? Yeah. Yeah. It’s two, two volumes. About 600 pages each. So word I’m about halfway through. It’s a commitment. So it really is, but it sounds great. So 18 hundreds France. Yes. That’s right. A story of rebellion. Yeah. It’s rebellion. Um, yeah, no, it’s an interesting story. It’s human focused, so it’s, it’s good. 

[00:03:05] I would recommend reading it. Um, but you’ve got to have, you’ve got to be committed, right? Absolutely. No, that’s, that’s great. And, um, that’s it, I’m only halfway, but I’m pretty sure I know how it ends. Oh, yep. Um, and as well as, uh, so, um, we’d love to S uh, start by asking what your career journey has been to date to becoming the Nacht. 

[00:03:28] I’m trying not to butcher this one. Now. Deputy group general counsel. And group company, secretary is a very long time, but love to understand your journey up until this date. How did you, you know, you came out of law school, what happened? Yep. Uh, so out of law school, I, um, did my graduate position, um, in the UK actually. 

[00:03:46] So I worked for a law firm called Freshfields over there. So. Pretty much, as soon as I’d finished their graduate position, I moved to Herbert Smith Freehills, um, was just her, but Smith back then actually in their Moscow office. Um, it was pre GFC and Russia was, uh, really a growing place, um, particularly for common law lawyers, Australian New Zealand and UK lawyers to go and practice spent about four years there doing, um, private M and a, and that was, you know, really. 

[00:04:19] Interesting. Eye-opening and I learned a lot about, you know, the difference between what you say on paper and what happens in real life. So, so that was great. Then after the firm merged and became Herbert Smith Freehills, I managed to get back to their Sydney office for a couple of years or so, working in private M and a. 

[00:04:39] Um, before I went on secondment, um, in-house at Boral for three months and really quickly after I went, you know, on us economy and I realized that in-house was the place for me. So just really enjoyed, uh, being closer to the source, having more ability to understand the. You know, how, what you’re doing fits into a company’s overall objectives, et cetera. 

[00:05:05] Um, so I then decided to move in house, um, was lucky enough to be able to get a position as a senior legal counsel at Coca-Cola Amatil and I’ve been there ever since. So that was in, uh, late. 2015. So I’ve been there for, for about five years now, um, and done a couple of different roles. Um, I was looking after the Australian legal team for a while was then deputy group general counsel for a while. 

[00:05:33] And then recently I’ve started, uh, taking on company secretarial responsibilities, which is, um, my latest learning curve, which is been really interesting during, during COVID. Oh, wow. Yeah. So I want to drill down on that. So you mentioned that yet you recently became the group company, secretary of CCA, as well as a new role. 

[00:05:52] Um, what was one thing that you, um, you know, were surprised by when you took on this new role? Uh, I think that just the, the difference between a company secretarial role and a, you know, traditional legal role, I suppose. Um, I think it’s, it’s quite hard from the outside of looking in it. Company secretary, secretary, or roles to really understand what the full universe that’s involved is. 

[00:06:19] Um, and it’s very, it is actually really very different to, um, sort of a more operational legal role you have, you know, In house lawyers think that they have a lot of stakeholders to manage. Um, but spare a thought for your company, secretary cause uh, they have heaps more I’m afraid and just the, um, the rhythm and pacing of work is, is quite different as well. 

[00:06:46] Legal work, you know, tends to have a start and end point it’s kind of defined as a matter or can be thought of as a matter or a deal that. Begins and ends, um, and works in a linear fashion with companies, secretarial things tend to be a bit more cyclical or they might not really ever actually have a beginning and ending. 

[00:07:08] They just have periods of intensity and then periods, which are quieter. Right. Wow. That’s a very different style of work. As you’ve described it, thinking about legal transformation and what you’ve done here at CCA, we’d love to understand kind of the landscape prior to transformation and some of the challenges that you observed, kind of the friction points that you were noticing prior to transformation. 

[00:07:32] Uh, so back in 2015 and early 2016, when I joined, we really had the classic pressures that you see on it within the house teams, which is just a rapidly increasing demand for legal work, um, legal budgets and head count, not increasing. Anywhere near in pace with that. And, um, so therefore the in-house team was, you know, either getting increasingly backlogged, uh, getting increasingly stressed, um, et cetera. 

[00:08:07] So those were really there. The challenges we were looking at at that time. For sure. And I hear a lot that another issue within industry is kind of like the visibility within the team itself, around the work that each, each other is doing, because there’s just so much going on. Was that also a challenge that you guys commonly faced? 

[00:08:24] Yeah. And that’s, I think, um, a big. Challenge for in-house lawyers to, to overcome because you tend to not be working with each other in an in-house team. You’re all in the same team, but you’re all working on different things. So there’s not necessarily a logical reason for, for you to tell other members of your team what you’re doing in any great specifics. 

[00:08:49] Um, so very little visibility of what other team members were doing and the. You know, classic that before someone needs to go on holidays, they kind of just pull out 50 emails about a matter and forward them on to, and that’s kind of how handover works because there was no alternate. Oh, I totally get that. 

[00:09:10] That’s that’s definitely the kind of insight we’ve gotten in about in-house. Um, Legal is, is this kind of lack of visibility within the team, just because of the transactional nature and sort of the assigned business unit nature of, of how work, uh, is typically done. Um, so now that we’ve kind of gotten a sense of what the challenges were, uh, you mentioned kind of the grind demand from the business around, uh, legal services, budgets, not changing, and then the other thing being visibility. 

[00:09:36] Um, how, how did you even begin to tackle that? Where did you start in, in addressing some of these challenges? We didn’t really take a very systematic approach and I would have to admit back then we didn’t really think or look at. Things in a holistic way. We sort of looked at, um, specific pain points and had ideas about dealing with specific pain points that we tackled. 

[00:10:01] And we didn’t really think about them as connected with each other. Although in hindsight, they clearly work connected with each other. Um, so I guess the, the first two things that we did and which really. Continue to be the things that we’ve done, which made the biggest difference was firstly, starting to track the work that we did. 

[00:10:24] So, um, initially we did that in a very analog way. So we created matter form. That you’ve printed out and had a bunch of hard copies sitting on all of our desks. And every time a matter came in, you filled out the form and, um, w how poor EA had the terrible job of typing that all into an Excel spreadsheet, um, once a week, and circulating that around once a month, um, and being lawyers, we poorly manipulated it. 

[00:10:54] And, um, you know, tried to get some insight out of that, but certainly that was. Way better than what we had before, which was nothing. So we started tracking what we were doing that way, uh, after a while the pain of doing it that way led us to a digital solution, um, which was very popular after it was, uh, it was clear that it was going to replace the XL approach. 

[00:11:19] Um, and then the second thing that we did was, uh, really have a look at the resources, the key resources that we were using and interacting with. Every day w by which I really mean the templates that the legal team was using template contracts and how to look at why these weren’t really working for us, um, or why we were spending so much time just drafting contracts when we theoretically had templates there. 

[00:11:49] Um, and the answer to that was really. We didn’t have the right templates and they didn’t really reflect how Coca-Cola Amatil actually did business. Um, they might’ve reflected it at some historical point in time, but they really just, haven’t been expanded and updated to reflect the way that our business wanted to do things. 

[00:12:11] So we. Put together quite an ambitious project, which took quite a bit of time to get through, um, where we built out a much larger suite of documents that was more specific. So you, um, you could get a template that more closely reflected the deal you actually wanted to do from the outset. We made it easier for our business users to interact with those templates. 

[00:12:35] So they didn’t have to, um, jump into clauses and attempt Bush lawyering. Um, they could really just, um, choose the way that they wanted various optional items to work, um, through a sort of check box type approach. Um, and then, you know, for the legal team, um, we made it, we reflected our common end points in negotiations as opposed to an aggressive starting points. 

[00:13:05] So, um, having those. Broader suite of templates that better reflected how our business worked, um, was, you know, something which helped us actually a lot more than I ever expected. It would. Awesome. And I like how you mentioned, um, you were re-engineering those contracts to reflect the most present position of CCA at the, uh, in its most modern form. 

[00:13:29] We’d love to understand for both initiatives, the first one being the tracking of work and the second one being the re-engineering of a contract templates. How long did each of those initiatives take? Uh, so starting to track work is really fast and easy to do. You know, we literally kind of decided that we were going to do it one day and we started doing it from the next day. 

[00:13:49] You just design. If you’re going to do it in the analog way, just design a form and a spreadsheet. And off you go, um, Even moving to a digital solution, very simple and easy to do can be done very quickly. Um, I guess what I would say on those ones is that although you can start tracking, tracking what you’re doing very quickly drawing insights from what you’re tracking is a longer term. 

[00:14:15] Um, uh, Yeah, it’s a longer term things. So you really, particularly if you’re in a business like our business, which is cyclical, um, I really feel you need to start having, uh, at least more than a year’s worth of data to start drawing real insights. Because, you know, for example, in our business, um, we have clear busy periods, um, you know, Towards the end of the year in the run up to Christmas and in the run-up to Easter as well, there are busy periods. 

[00:14:48] So comparing. Uh, September with October, it’s not necessarily that insightful because October is always going to be busier than September. For those cyclical reasons. Comparing this October with last October is going to draw some real insights for you. Um, and so you do need to, although you can use some aspects of the data straight away, like stuff that just shows you. 

[00:15:14] Uh, on a rolling basis, you know, where you’ve spending your time over the last month is insightful and useful to have. And I think can help dispel myths, uh, in your own mind or in your team’s mind or in your business’s mind. Yeah. Wait, what you actually do, but it’s really when you have year on year comparative data, or even multiple years of comparative data that you’re starting to get really powerful insights about how your work is changing over time. 

[00:15:43] So, um, that’s on the tracking side of things on the, uh, templates and resources side of things that actually took us over a year to do that. I think is a combination of two things. Um, one is the issue again, that in-house teams have is that you’re so busy getting your work done. That improvement projects are really, really hard to prioritize. 

[00:16:09] Um, and we certainly suffered from that this project was, you know, Number eight, nine or 10 on your top 10 list at any point in time and never gets higher than that. So, um, it was a little bit of a hobby project for a while. Um, until, you know, we finally got to the point that we thought we just need to get this over the line. 

[00:16:32] Um, And put some real focus on Twitter. And then the other thing I would say that has been a real lesson for me is that we scoped a pretty big project. Um, we. We’re perfectionists. And so we waited really until we had almost all of these templates, we had 23 or 24 that we created in that process. Um, and we really waited until we had all of them perfect before launching any of them, which is just not the way I would do things anymore. 

[00:17:04] I think, um, we could have taken a more incremental approach, get stuff out there, test how it works, et cetera, because even after we thought we had had them more perfect. When we put them out into the real world, we. You know, I immediately saw things that we needed to tweak and change. Um, so had we done that earlier one, we would’ve got the benefits a bit earlier and we would have been able to take those lessons from the templates that were out there and implement those into other ones as well. 

[00:17:35] You know, that’s what all of your legal tech providers are always telling you in terms of your approach to innovation. So, um, I would recommend listening to that piece of advice. That’s great. And I like that you mentioned that kind of agile approach of getting feedback from the business users to feed into legal, to then re redesign some of the contract templates you were mentioning before. 

[00:17:55] Um, then if you want to compare how long it actually took you, um, with the contract redesigned versus if you had gone and taken a more iterative approach, how do w what does the time look like? So versus what actually was versus what would have been, if you had gone with the iterative approach. Uh, I think, I mean, it might’ve taken us, uh, same total amount of time perhaps to get all of them out into the real world. 

[00:18:19] But what we would have got is I, you know, I think we could have got a, of say that 20, 20 plus contracts we could have perhaps got five out within the first quarter. So we would have had. Uh, you know, nine months of the benefit of using those, um, and saving time on nos, which perhaps could have led us to, to close out some of the other ones faster or could have, let us get more sleep. 

[00:18:47] Who knows I that, um, and are you alluding to kind of, um, did you guys do a lot of extra work outside of your ordinary hours to kind of do those contract redesigns? Yeah, I mean, at that point in time, um, Doing things like, uh, those kind of. Improvement projects was really just adding extra time to, to an already pretty solid workload. 

[00:19:13] So we had some pretty long hours in the team just getting through business as usual, let alone these kinds of projects at that time. So, um, yeah, that was definitely one of the challenges. And one of the things that we’ve been quite lucky to be able to address through those kinds of projects. Absolutely. 

[00:19:34] So take us back in history. So you’ve now gotten to a point where you are, you’ve gone from not tracking any work at all to another electronic format or the work is, you know, mostly being tracked. And also the contract templates have been, uh, began being transformed into these evergreen templates that will reflect the most current position of CCA. 

[00:19:55] What was the next level of change that you guys undertook at CCS? A legal team. Yeah. So the next level after we had the right resources in place was really looking at our process and, um, making sure that both people in the legal team and our business users, et cetera, uh, understood the process. We agreed the process of, you know, getting a, um, You know, a supplier contract up and running or completed, um, really clearly. 

[00:20:28] And I think that’s something that, um, for me is really important to think about. Um, making sure that you have clarity and a way of, uh, executing your business processes. Which includes the legal element, um, but includes a lot more than the legal element. That’s really clear to the stakeholders involved. 

[00:20:49] So for us, um, in relation to say procurement contracts, that meant, um, A lot of time spent invested in, uh, working with the procurement team to understand what they were doing before they came to the legal team. Um, because that obviously you need to make sure that your legal part of the process takes into account wherever the business is at prior to that time and then designing, um, I clear process with them that worked for them, worked for us, um, and would be if efficient overall. 

[00:21:28] So we then, uh, spent quite a bit of time training both ourselves and the procurement team, for example, in this example, um, on that, and. Making sure we actually wrote down how it was going to work. So in our case, we’ve taken a pretty simple approach to doing that. We have a lot of that kind of how to get X done. 

[00:21:51] Um, just written down on our intranet page. So it’s not nothing particularly fancy. It’s just, um, so everybody can access it easily. And, um, you know, if there’s new team members who want to understand how something, um, Is meant to work. You can explain it to them, but also refer them to something written that they can refer to. 

[00:22:14] Um, so I think getting those processes right. The resources are only one part of the picture. You have to have the right process to go with the resources as well. So those two things in combination are really powerful. I think if you get them right. Um, and a lot of the problems we’re trying to solve in within in-house legal teams. 

[00:22:39] Derive from interface issues with counter parties or other, um, other areas within our own business. It’s can be pretty hard to deal with counter, uh, interface issues with a counterparty, but, um, internally in your business, you can definitely minimize those and, um, minimizing the amount of time that your internal clients have to spend to instruct you and making sure that. 

[00:23:07] You don’t have to spend a huge amount of time. Chasing instructions is, is something that, um, we should all be focused on. Is there specific use case you have in mind when you say that around there being an activity that you know, the business needs to get from legal, but they legal doesn’t necessarily need to be involved in the end to end process. 

[00:23:27] Uh, yeah, I think there’s quite a few use cases around that. I mean, the classic one that, uh, almost everyone identifies that falls into that bucket is NDAs confidentiality agreements. So that, um, an example we’ve done there is so following it iteratively, so NDAs we’re one of their 24, um, contracts, which we created. 

[00:23:51] So step one was have the right. NDAs or, um, variations of NDAs for different types of business that you’re doing. So we, for example, have a different NDA for, and it’s sort of day-to-day business interactions versus what we had for M and a transactions. Um, prior to this, we didn’t have that, that kind of distinction in here. 

[00:24:16] Step two for us was. Providing the training, as I said, and being clear on what the process of getting an NDA in place would be. Um, and initially for us, that was, we had the NDA is available on our intranet site. Um, there was guidance there for, for people to use those. And we actually didn’t take the legal team out of the NDA process. 

[00:24:39] Initially, we would say. Grab the NDA or our intranet follow these instructions and then send it to the legal team who will do a sort of QA review, um, and send it back to you. What we found is that if you’re, if you’ve got that process clear, um, and you’re training people. Actually what the legal team ends up doing is just a little bit of, um, you know, grammar and format checking, which isn’t a huge value add. 

[00:25:08] So that’s when we stepped into the next phase, which is the automation phase. So. Now we have an app, um, that our business users can access to create the NDAs. The beauty of that is you don’t really have to give any instructions other than click here to start the app because the app itself gives the instructions as users are going through. 

[00:25:30] Um, and that. App will decide based on the variables that our user puts in, whether it’s the, uh, M and a version or it’s the BIU version of our NDA. And it’ll, we’ll also decide based on some parameters that we’ve put in there, whether it should come to the legal team or not. So, um, you know, there’s a good percentage of our NDAs now, which just. 

[00:25:56] Bypass the legal team entirely. Um, despite it being illegal activity, uh, lawyers don’t have to accept track changes or, um, correct typos and grammar anymore. And for, um, business user in the majority of cases, when they decide, Hey, I need an NDA, they can have it within 10 minutes. That’s fantastic. And on that particular, you know, journey where you’ve gotten to that automated solution, I imagine that there was probably, as you said, a kind of process design phase where you kind of mapping out the journey for the business user, as well as where legal fits into that picture. 

[00:26:32] Um, I want to drill down on this particular. Um, idea because I think always often get, um, uh, characterized as being the polar opposite of, uh, the design thinkers like engineers. They they’re often characterized as being very, um, detailed, uh, very, uh, you know, very down to the nitty-gritty. Uh, but not necessarily having that kind of design thinking, uh, skillset. 

[00:26:57] What would you say to that kind of idea? Um, I would say it’s just a matter of training yourself to think that way. I don’t think that it’s, you know, beyond lawyers or impossible for lawyers to think that way. And I think that there’s, um, some aspects of that, which definitely aren’t true because I think that coming up with a good design involves. 

[00:27:24] Having high attention to detail, uh, lawyers are great at that. So, but I think the, the trick with it is understanding and being able to prioritize which details need to be. Right. And that’s, I think where, um, lawyers will generally tend to struggle. Um, I don’t don’t think it’s unfair to say that we have a sort of perfectionist mentality, um, often, but you do have to, um, Hmm, I guess, remember that you don’t have to solve every potential outcome when you’re pursuing these kinds of projects. 

[00:28:02] If you, if you can, for example, cut 10% of the time out of 80% of your tasks, then it’s not, that’s a great win B. You should be very happy with that. And if you can do that quickly, you should do it. Um, you shouldn’t be delaying that win. Because you’re not happy that you haven’t addressed the last 20%. Um, the last 20, that once you’ve addressed the first 80%, you‘ll have way more time to address the last 20%. 

[00:28:31] So, um, just try and think about it that way. And, um, I guess what, what I would also say is these projects for us have been real struggled to do while you’re doing them, but they create. Space for you afterwards. And once you have that space to think about things a bit more, it’s been surprising how often, um, we’ve gone down different paths to what we were originally thinking. 

[00:28:58] The solution was for that last 20% and perhaps what we, what we would have, um, had we tried to tackle a hundred percent all aunts, and it’s also been surprising. Um, the number of times that we’ve said, Oh, actually now that we’ve dealt with. The 80%, we don’t actually feel anymore. Anything more is required for that last 20% because it’s within capability. 

[00:29:23] We now have the space to think about those things more rationally and we’re more comfortable. I love that end on that note would love to understand what have been the benefits for both the legal team, as well as a business now that you guys have gone, gone through that transformation process. Uh, I think the. 

[00:29:43] Really clear benefit is better understanding of the joint objective and thinking about it more as a joint objective and a joint, you know, thinking about things more as a single, uh, process or object business process that. We’re all stakeholders in as opposed to, um, discrete elements, which sort of plugged together. 

[00:30:10] So it’s been really good for, um, the legal team to start seeing a contract in the context of a bigger negotiation with a counter party or, um, a supplier, et cetera. So it’s, it’s helped with that kind of thing for the legal team. For our business users, I think has seeing a legal team that’s willing to change the way it does things. 

[00:30:38] Um, and actually. Is kind of stepping out of its box and suggesting to them how they could change the way that they’re doing things for the benefit of, of each other and for our counterparties as well. Um, has been really good in terms of engaging them with us. And then the, the other, I think, Unplanned benefit of doing these kinds of projects is that it drives a change in a way that. 

[00:31:10] People think about the work that they’re doing. Um, so I think a really important thing is for us to be thinking not only about what we’re doing, but about how we’re doing it and, um, these legal innovation, um, or improvement projects really make you think about how you’re doing it. And once you start thinking about how you’re doing it in the context of a particular project, it’s. 

[00:31:37] Pretty soon that you start thinking about how you’re doing everything you’re doing in a lot more detail and you start yeah. Just taking that position of sitting there and assessing well, This particular thing that I want to do, what, what will the actual benefit be to my, you know, to my company, to, um, to the counter party, et cetera. 

[00:32:01] And, um, if you, you realize actually there is no benefit to those people. Um, then I just won’t do it. It helps you kind of understand how you should organize your time much better. Yeah, I love that. And the other question that I have on that note is you mentioned that they’re kind of viewing of not just, um, you know, what you’re doing, but how to actually do it. 

[00:32:25] And it’s this kind of like problem solving mentality that lawyers can break out of simply being transactional, but can actually look to the business and be really good problem solvers. Um, I’d like to understand what are your thoughts the while, while lawyers and why in-house lawyers specifically best placed. 

[00:32:40] To be kind of the drivers of problem solving within the business. I think it’s no secret that lot. Lots of in-house teams are seen as a bit of a bottleneck in their organization. I think that we’re doing a great job of changing that, um, that view of in-house lawyers, but part of the, um, the reason that we’re seen as bottlenecks is because it’s true that a lot of different functions, um, Interact with the legal team at some point in time. 

[00:33:13] And the real beauty of that, and really the reason that lots of people move in house houses, you see a real breadth of your business. Um, that a lot of other functions don’t have the privilege of doing so. Um, you know, Coca-Cola, Amatil the average lawyer is. Uh, looking at employment matters. They’re thinking about intellectual property they’re, um, working on, you know, capital projects, um, M and H transactions, et cetera. 

[00:33:43] So you’re across a really broad range of different, um, activities in a company, your work, working with stakeholders at all different levels. And so that gives you a really unique insight and ability to draw common threads from different areas of the business, which other people don’t have. And that’s that’s um, what gives lawyers and advantage in in-house roles and an ability to, yeah, just. 

[00:34:13] Pick out things which could make a real difference across the business, which people in individual functions just wouldn’t have the visibility to be able to do. I love that. And, and I think the other thing you mentioned in the pre-interview that we did together was around the confidential nature of that information. 

[00:34:30] So sometimes that information which might not necessarily be shared into functionally lawyers get access to, is it, is that right there? Yeah, that’s right. I, yeah, it’s, it’s also the case that. Where people are quite open with the legal team, because they can be, it’s the nature of our role that, um, you know, we are privy to just, yeah. 

[00:34:53] A broad range of information and, um, that just sits with identifying those common threads. That’s awesome. Uh, final question for you. If you had to go back in time and give advice to your younger self or annual legal team before you went through that transformation, what would that one piece of advice be? 

[00:35:12] Uh, it would just be what I said before that you need to drop the perfection mentality. You don’t need to solve everything all at once. Um, choose the things which are going to make a difference. Get them out there, get them out there a bit faster, learn as you go. And don’t be, don’t be afraid to put things out there that aren’t perfect because even if you do try to put something out there, that’s perfect. 

[00:35:37] You’ll still find it’s not quite there. Um, so, you know, get the majority of the benefit. Get the time and space that you all derive from getting that benefit, and that will help you move on to the next thing. Fantastic. And if this is one to connect with you and find out more about your story, where can they do that? 

[00:35:57] Uh, they can feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Yeah. Just send me a message and we’ll go from there. Fantastic. Thanks so much, Richard. Jeez, thanks man. Hey listeners. If you have your own story of digital service transformation, or know someone who does, we’d love to hear from you and get you on the show, just shoot us an email and outside the box@checkbox.ai. 

[00:36:19] If you’d like to read our show notes or listen to more episodes, you can always head over to our website@checkbox.ai or find us on your major streaming platforms like Apple, Spotify, and Google as always. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you at the next one. 

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