Catching-up with the latest tech trends: skills needed by lawyers in business circles
On November 29, the 3rd International conference Skolkovo. Legal Tech. Black Edition hosted a number of workshops of the leaders of the LegalTech market covering a wide range of topics. Garant company presented a database of internal documents powered by the Archivarius system and explained the scope of its application.
Director of the project Sergei Oganesyan said, “Each employee uses the internal documents of its organization daily – statutes, regulations, standards, and so on. The documentation should be stored, kept in the system, and tracked, and contradicting documents should be eliminated. Further, we should ensure the compliance of all documentation with the law. The LegalTech solutions, including those provided by the Guarantor, significantly simplify and automate all these processes, free up time and enable the mass consumer to work safely with large volumes of internal documents.
Oganesyan’s presentation was followed by a series of workshops delivered by the Paragraph Magazine, united by the common theme “Skills of effective team leaders.” The event was moderated by Anton Pronin, Director of Legal Technologies Development at the Skolkovo Foundation, and Olga Demidova, publisher of The Paragraph Magazine, producer of legal events, headhunter-legalholic and legal career development advisor.
Olga Demidova presented her research, conducted among directors of law departments in the Russian companies, “We analyzed the skills of in-house lawyers, conducting a survey about leader qualities and considered important among the head of legal departments. We found out that the average manager is sure that he is thinking in terms of business categories, takes responsibility, risks, efficiently organizes his or her work and sets clear goals for the team. But there is a question which of your skills are in demand by businesses. The most popular answer is the ability to come with a quick result having limited and unclear resources.
Anastasia Shkarina, Member of the Management Board, Director of the Legal Department of Unilever in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, Yulia Popelysheva, director of law department, Valery Sidnev, Head of Legal Department and member of the Board of Directors of EuroChem, member of the Management Board of AB Lifosa (Lithuania), participated in the workshop titled “How to efficiently organize the work of law department.” Practitioners have gained obvious and non-obvious benefits for their businesses by accepting law departments in the role of a business partner, based on the examples of different organizational forms of the companies’ internal processes.
Anastasia Shkarina, Director of Legal Services Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, member of the Board of Directors of Unilever, commented on the specifics of the lawyers’ internal corporate work: “There are 4500 employees and only 17 lawyers in our company. The law department has two branches: a business partnership and a business support center. We created this structure to increase the efficiency of legal operations and the necessity to separate legal operations from automated processes. The concept of business partners was created, taking into account the challenge of the time. We have just discussed the needs of the modern lawyer. To make decisions, he has to have a good understanding of the business and learn how to get the business agenda.”
Director of the Legal Department at Yandex, Yulia Popelysheva, says that working in the cross-team is a driving force for the high efficiency of in-house lawyers: “We are a large company, with 10 thousand employees and 80 lawyers. Our legal department has a few branches: we have the department for the latest technologies, the department that acquires rights to intellectual property assets, the patent department, the commercial department, the department of infrastructure, and so on. We have a very important principle of work for cross-team lawyers. It means that lawyers from different departments work with each individual Yandex service. Each lawyer has a good understanding of the services they’re working with.”
The Head of the Legal Department, a member of the Board of Directors of EuroChem, and a member of the Management Board of AB Lifosa (Lithuania) Valery listed the criteria that should be applied when evaluating the work of lawyers in the company: “There are three main criteria: achieving results, satisfying the needs of internal clients and the needs of the lawyer (a business partner).” “I don’t have departmental meetings for lawyers and I don’t require accounting from them, because I don’t want to spend my time and the time of my employees. They know that they can always approach me to discuss certain things. I care for result and satisfaction of both sides. If these criteria are met, it means that my control is no longer needed. Controlling smart, educated and experienced people means harming them. If you want to help these people, help them with resources,” she added.
During the workshop titled, “The skill to improve your work,” the participants considered the possibilities of applying in practice the methodologies of Lean and Six Sigma – the newest approaches to organization of business processes, based on the concept of careful production, aimed at cutting down the losses and speeding up business processes. The Six Sigma strategies can aid in improving quality and increasing customer satisfaction. The panelists included Alexander Gorlov, Director of the Moscow branch of GAZ Group Management Company, former Director of Legal Affairs at Russian Machines Corporation, and Polina Lebedeva, and Aleksei Popovtsev, Senior Associate at SIBUR.
Rosbank Director of Legal Affairs Polina Lebedeva highlighted the main advantages of implementing lean manufacturing methods, “An employee ceases to be a tool for solving a specific problem, a resource. He becomes an equal participant in the overall process and development of the company. Further, people are no longer engaged in low-skilled work. It increases the overall level of the team, gives employees an incentive for the growth, and eases the load of micromanagement. The department becomes more visible and important for the company. Maintaining and even increasing its efficiency, such a team consumes less resources. It is accessible and open to an internal customer.”
Aleksey Popovtsev spoke about the organization of business processes in the holding, naming four basic elements which help to improve the value of the legal department, “First of all, this is a small-scale improvement from any region. Any idea gets to the common ledger which will be considered by the comission as lawyers can see the progress and affect it. Secondly, it means the decrease in losses. We continuously get a flow of tasks, despite automation and optimization. Therefore, a lawyer should ask a question, which value he can bring to the business. Thirdly, it’s about standardization and unification. Only 20% of contracts are approved by lawyers, the rest of documentation is standard. And lastly, it’s about new initiatives. Businesses need new ideas, but people are often do not have the nerve to show them.”
CEO of the Moscow branch of GAZ Group Management Company and former Director of Legal Affairs of Russian Machines Corporation Alexander Gorlov said that the new methods significantly reduce losses associated with an inefficient use of human capital and resources, “When a highly qualified lawyer is engaged in low-skill work due to the lack of the personnel capable of doing it urgently, it means that a formal business process organization had not been established. Or when the result can be achieved in three steps, but it takes five. It means that the situation in the company has changed, but the old processes remain. These damages are crystal clear, it means that we have to fight with them.”
Lawyers of Deloitte Legal hosted a workshop to present four original LegalTech products: Jira Core adapted for legal business dept of of Deloitte Legal Hub, a document design set, powered by RPA Legal Bots technology, customized software developed by IP Smart Register, and a solution for the management of contractors’ risks. The workshops were conducted by the managing partner at Deloitte Legal CIS Anna Kostyra, the director of Deloitte CIS Legal Team Ekaterina Portman, the director, analytics and forensic technology Alexey Ivlev, and the senior lawyer at Deloitte Legal CIS Ekaterina Bespalova.
This year, in addition to workshops in the Skolkovo LegalTech program, Black Edition, the program featured lectures, live discussions, and presentations delivered by foreign and Russian business gurus and practitioners in the LegalTech field. The event welcomed Novy Vek Bank and Deloitte, CIS as gold partners, and European Legal Service as silver partner. Aston Martin became the event’s official car partner. The conference was organized under the aegis of the IPChain Association and the Intellectual Property Federation, featuring n’RIS Digital Service as the partner of the exhibition program. This year, the Skolkovo Foundation, the historical organizer of the event, partnered for the first time with the communication brand IPQuorum and Forbes Russia.