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The Brexit journey is going to be an interesting one for HR professionals. They will have a key role to play in trying to support as smooth a transition as possible into what may be a brave new world (or a very similar one!).

There is likely to be a heavy burden placed on HR departments and they will need to be well resourced to be able to meet the expectations of their business. At the moment, the precise effects of Brexit on immigration and employment legislation are still unknown. We have set out below some areas that HR professionals may want to have on their to do lists:

  1. Sort out your data – make sure it is cleansed and easily accessible, particularly with regard to workforce nationality and location. You may also need to think about where the business holds data- there may be implications for data held offshore or outside the EU.

  2. Resource planning – many EU nationals may decide to leave the UK and it may also be much harder to find individuals with the right skills in the EU as they may be reluctant to work in the UK. Interestingly, almost a fifth of British companies say that EU nationals are more motivated employees than their British counterparts.

    Will you need to focus on trying to drive productivity, working closely with senior managers and directors? Or will you have to put in place a fall-back position if the final look of Brexit means that the business has to implement a redundancy plan. The Bank of England predicts that up to 75,000 jobs could be lost in the financial services sector alone following Brexit. Look at where your business comes from and have in place contingency plans based on the likely impact of Brexit on your customers and how this may flow down to your business.

    If a reduction in the work force may be necessary, get all your documents, letters, FAQs and other papers that may be needed for such a scenario updated and ready.

  3. Working week - how will the business deal with the scenario of the 48-hour working week being repealed. It may be wise to see how contracts are currently drafted and whether the workforce is routinely asked to opt out of the 48 hour restriction.

    In addition, some of the recent decisions re holiday pay have been very unpopular with UK businesses. The government may try to tweak these and this possibility may figure into your approach to any employee challenges you are facing on this issue.

  4. Skills Gap - are you seeing a reduction in job applicants? If so, you may want to review reward packages. Of course, with the recent collapse of Carillion, there is a distinct nervousness in the economy and many business, particularly smaller ones, may simply be unable to increase reward packages.

  5. Employee relations - watch out for an increase in grievances/disciplinaries – we all heard about the increase in ‘hate’ crimes following the referendum decision and HR will need to keep a close eye on statistics to see if any of this is filtering down into the workplace.

    If you see a worrying trend, bring employees’ attention to the relevant policies and make sure your HR team feel suitably skilled and trained to handle these difficult issues.

  6. Reassurance – for those businesses with an EU presence, are you aware how your staff are feeling? One of your core roles will be to deal with the uncertainty that will no doubt be playing on the minds of your employees who may come from Europe.

    Watch out for dips in performance, increased absenteeism as the exit date approaches. HR will have a key role to play in reassuring employees who may be directly affected by the final decisions that are made by the government.

Karin Henson is Director of Aeris Employment Law, a niche employment law firm. She is a pragmatic and articulate solicitor with in depth employment experience, including advising and representing businesses and individuals, both in the public and private sector, on employment law matters.

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With Brexit looming on the horizon, it feels like the employment law landscape is at a crossroads.

First, we are seeing increasing scrutiny of the way employment relationships are structured, particularly in the area of the “gig economy”, where individuals who have previously been classed as self-employed are challenging this and arguing that they should be entitled to the same rights as workers or employees. The Government is looking into ways of reforming or regulating gig economy contracts because of the uncertainty the dispute has caused for large companies such as Uber and Deliveroo, as well as for the workers themselves.

Then there is the gender pay gap, which is rarely out of the news nowadays – and quite rightly so. The latest statistics show that the gap in pay between male full-time workers and female full-time workers is 9.1%, and even more in the case of older age groups. The Government has begun addressing this by requiring large businesses to publish details of their pay gaps by 4 April this year, in the hope that facing public scrutiny of their figures will force employers to start taking active steps to reduce pay differences. There is however a tension here in that it is clear from the statistics that a large contributing factor to the gender pay gap is the fact that women are far more likely to take career breaks or reduce their hours because of childcare responsibilities. The gender pay gap reporting rules do not address this issue, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years in this area.

Alongside this, we are starting to see big changes to working practices because of ever-evolving 21st century technology. In some areas, this means that jobs historically filled by people are gradually being replaced by computers. Conversely, with the introduction into the workforce of a generation of young, smartphone-reliant technophiles, the other challenge here is that some more “traditional” sectors may soon face a shortage of young people willing to work in them and will need to adapt their working practices to keep up with changing times.

What next after Brexit?

Looming over these conversations is the pressing question of what will happen to our employment rights after Brexit. This is somewhat difficult to predict at the moment because it will heavily depend on a) whether we get a deal or not, and b) who will be in government at the end of it all.

Firstly, if we do manage to achieve a withdrawal deal then the EU will push for this to include promises from the UK to keep adhering to the same social values and employment models we have been following since we joined the EU, and which still exist throughout the rest of Europe. If we do not strike a deal, then the UK is likely to be much freer to amend its employment laws as it likes after exit day. (How exactly this may work is another question, given the confusion and controversy surrounding the wording of the EU Withdrawal Bill.)

Secondly, Theresa May promised in October 2016 that existing workers’ rights under EU law “will be guaranteed as long as I am Prime Minister”. This is somewhat less than a concrete guarantee that these rights will not diminish after Brexit, and some of the candidates for the next PM have expressed quite different views. In December, for example, Michael Gove was reported to have told a Cabinet meeting that he wanted to scrap the Working Time Regulations – which are highly unpopular with big businesses and, along with the Agency Workers’ Regulations, are likely to be first in the firing line after Brexit.

All in all, it is highly likely that once any post-exit transition period is over, Parliament will have much freer rein to re-write our employment laws and British courts will no longer be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice when interpreting those laws. Watch this space – things could be changing quite significantly in employment law in the next few years.

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What is the issue with consent?

The new GDPR is more onerous and employers will be under a positive obligation to be able to show evidence that they are compliant with the new GDPR principles.

Most employers address the issue of consent for processing personal data by including a standard clause in their contracts of employment. In light of the GDPR, this approach is probably going to have to change because of the imbalance of power between an employer and an employee and in these circumstances, it is unlikely that it could be said that an employee has given valid consent.

Should an employer continue to rely on consent?

Under the GDPR, consent needs to be freely given, unambiguous, specific and informed if it is to be valid. In essence, this means that the individual concerned must be able to refuse or withdraw their consent without any detriment being suffered.

So, if consent has to be freely given, where does this leave the employer? Consent is only one of the grounds on which personal data can be processed and given the imbalance of power between an employer and an employee, it is likely to be rare the condition of ‘freely given’ consent will ever be met.

So, the alternative is for an employer to rely on another legal basis for processing data and only rely on consent when there is no other legal basis to rely on.

On what different grounds could an employer rely?

Instead of consent, an employer could rely on a different legal basis to process data. Processing of data could be justified:

  • to comply with legal obligations – health and safety laws, deducting tax, establishing right to work;
  • to enable the employment contract to be performed such as payment of salary or administering benefits;
  • to protect the employee’s vital interests; or
  • to protect the employer’s legitimate interests which would outweigh the general privacy rights of employees (as long as this is proportionate and necessary). Examples would be to run recruitment, manage disciplinary and grievance issues, record absence, obtain medical advice, monitor performance.
What should employers do now?

Employers will have to review their standard employment contracts and review the standard data processing clauses that nearly all employment contracts contain. The clause could be deleted and instead details given of the business’s privacy notice relating to employees.

Employers should have an up to date data privacy notice (which we will cover in a later update) explaining in detail how data is processed and what sort of data is processed.

If the clause is to be retained, be aware of the risks that consent may not be viewed as being freely given and consent could be withdrawn at any point.

There may well be occasions where consent is needed in specific situations. Examples would be when taking photographs for a website or to provide information to a potential mortgagor. If so, employers must be sure that any consent given meets the strict requirements of the GDPR. Clear records should be kept documenting the consent and how it was obtained from the employee.

In summary, relying on consent as the basis for processing data could prove to be difficult and if the employee refuses to give consent, it will be difficult to use another basis for processing. This could make managing sickness absence very complicated. Employees may also retract their consent as a tactic to slow down or even de-rail disciplinary action for example.

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Brexit is coming.

But the GDPR is coming as well, and in less than four months. It will apply to the Member States of the European Union from 25th May 2018 and, in most organisations, there is still a lot of work to be done towards compliance.

The GDPR, standing for "General Data Protection Regulation", is reforming European data protection law. Businesses in the European Union and around the world are now concerned about complying with the new regulations.

An expanded territorial scope

The territorial scope of the GDPR is indeed expanded compared to the previous Data Protection Directive. The GDPR will apply not only to businesses that have an establishment in the European Union (regardless of whether the processing takes place in the European Union) but also to the processing activities relating to the offering of goods or services to data subjects in the European Union, or to the monitoring of behaviours taking place within the European Union.

This means that many organisations established outside the European Union will have to comply with the GDPR if they are targeting consumers in the EU.

What are the other key changes in the GDPR?

As a quick reminder, here are some of the main changes that are being brought in by the new Regulation:

  • The accountability principle has been introduced and implies that data controllers have to be able to demonstrate their compliance by documenting their activities. This includes the obligation to maintain a record of their processing activities, replacing the former obligation under the Directive to notify processing activities to Data Protection Authorities.
  • The GDPR also imposes direct compliance obligations on the data processors. Such obligations imply liability and sanctions in case of non-compliance.
  • The data subjects' rights are strengthened, and the GDPR formulates the new right to data portability.
  • A Data Protection Officer is required in all public authorities as well as companies performing certain data processing operations.
  • And finally, Data Protection Authorities are granted more power, including the ability to fine non-compliant organisations up to €20 million or 4% of the annual global turnover.
What about the UK?

Since the UK is leaving the European Union, should UK organisations also focus on compliance?

The GDPR will apply from the 25th May 2018 and the UK will not leave the European Union before April 2019. Until the effective exit date, European Union law including the GDPR, will continue to apply in the UK. UK organisations thus have to prepare to comply with it.

The relationship between the UK and the European Union after the Brexit is still uncertain. Various models of cooperation have been highlighted such as the Norwegian, Swiss or Turkish models. Only the Norwegian model, which implies that the UK would remain a member of the European Economic Area would allow free flow of data between the European Union and the UK.

Many UK organisations will still be subject to the GDPR

Unless such an agreement is reached, the UK will become a "third country" under the GDPR. However, the GDPR will still be applicable to UK businesses:

  • which also have an establishment in the European Union
  • which process personal data to offer goods or services or monitor behaviours in the European Union.
For the rest, the rules on transfer toward a third country will apply

As a third country, the European Commission has recently confirmed that the European rules for transfer of personal data to third countries would apply. Then, outside of the derogation situations (including transfers based on consent, for the performance of a contract, for the exercise of legal claims or for important reasons of public interest) either an adequacy decision or appropriate safeguards would be required to transfer data from the European Union Member States to the UK.

Although an adequacy decision from the Commission would allow free flow of data, it involves a legal process which may be long. On the other hand, appropriate safeguards, which include standard contractual clauses, Binding Corporate Rules, code of conduct and certification mechanisms imply additional costs and may constitute a more complex solution.

The Data Protection Bill

The GDPR has direct effect in every Member State. However, it is up to the Member States to decide on or add national provisions on certain points. In this regard, the Government has introduced a Data Protection Bill into Parliament. The Bill will thus set out national implementation provisions such as provisions on the Information Commissioner's Office's (ICO) powers and will cover areas outside the scope of the European law, such as national security. But the Bill also aims to implement the GDPR into UK law for after Brexit. It is currently making its way through Parliament and it should be passed before 25th May 2018.

However, it should be noted that the UK won’t be subject to the decisions of the European Court of Justice nor of the European Board of Data Protection. Thus, different interpretations of the GDPR principles may arise. Also, the ICO will lose its participation in the European Data Protection Board so will lose its influence on the decisions and interpretation in the European Union.

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1. What is the General Data Protection Regulation?

This is the new governing legislation for collecting and processing personal data in the EU.

2. When will it come into force?

Very soon – in fact it comes into effect on 25 May 2018 for all EU Member States, including the UK. The standards will apply after Brexit.

The government has also published the Data Protection Bill which will supplement the GDPR and will replace the old Data Protection Act 1998.

3. What does the GDPR apply to?

The GDPR applies to ‘personal data’ - this means any information which relates to someone who can be identified.

4. Do I really need to worry about it?

Whilst many of the principles that are already familiar under the Data Protection Act 1998 will remain the same, the GDPR has new requirements which will impact on the issue of consent and compliance.

5. I am just a small firm and so do not need to worry about it?

Unfortunately, not – all employers will have to comply, regardless of their size if you process personal data.

6. Can I not just rely on the usual clauses in employment contracts regarding consent?

This is all going to become a lot more complicated – the GDPR will restrict the use of consent as a justification for processing data. This is going to make life more difficult as the GDPR states that consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.

General clauses in employment contracts trying to state that consent is given will no longer be a valid legal basis to justify processing employee data. We will provide a further update on the issue of consent.

7. What else might I have to change?

Currently, employers are required to provide employees and job applicants with a privacy notice setting out certain information. Under the GDPR, employers will have to provide more detailed information. We will provide a further update with more details on the changes to privacy notices and changes to subject access requests.

8. If there is a breach relating to data, presumably I will have to report it once this has been fully investigated?

No – the GDPR will impose a new mandatory breach reporting requirement and you will have to notify any possible breaches within 72 hours, whether the investigation is complete or not.

9. Will there be fines?

There is the potential for significant penalties to be imposed – up to €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover, whichever is the greater.

10. As long as I comply with the new regulation, if there is a deliberate breach by an employee the company will surely be ok?

No – in a recent case involving Morrisons, they were held to be vicariously
liable for the actions of a disgruntled employee who leaked the details of 100,000 employees. The case is under appeal but if the appeal fails, Morrisons could be at risk of a significant fine.

11. I have heard something about a right to be forgotten. What does this mean?

Basically, this means that an individual can request for their data to be
removed or deleted when there is no compelling reason for a business to continue processing that information. This has been watered down a little and in the GDPR legislation, it has been termed as the ‘right to erasure’.

This right will apply in certain circumstances:

  • when the data is longer necessary or relevant;
  • when the individual specifically withdraws consent to processing personal data has been unlawfully processed in breach of the GDPR; and
  • the data must be erased in order for a controller to comply with legal obligations.

If any of the above conditions applies under this right of erasure, it is the data controller’s responsibility to delete and remove the data. This should be done without any unreasonable delay but definitely within a month unless specific circumstances apply.

It is worth noting that this right is not absolute and it is not unlimited either.

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Not a day goes by without Brexit being mentioned in the news, brought up in corporate boardrooms, highlighted in client meetings, or debated across dining tables. It’s clearly a divisive issue, but politics aside, what does it mean objectively? How will it affect UK businesses and what should they do to prepare for it?

It’s easy for UK business owners to feel paralysed by the amount of information that’s out there about Brexit. On one hand, it’s often stressed that there won’t be any immediate changes to the law: the UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, before which all existing relevant laws will continue to apply. After that, the current plan is for a two-year “transition” period after exit day to provide certainty while the full Brexit deal, in whatever form it takes, is negotiated and implemented. Aside from the formal process, “leavers” and “remainers” continue to engage in a bitter war of words, with both sides claiming that Brexit is the best or worst thing for the future of the country. Considering the drawn-out nature of the process, coupled with the lack of clarity and often conflicting information, many in the business world have settled for a “wait and see” approach.

On the other hand, it’s undeniable that Brexit will have a significant effect on UK businesses, particularly those that import or export abroad, hire foreign workers or operate in an industry that is subject to EU regulation. Lexoo’s view is that the only way for businesses to avoid being caught off guard in this time of uncertainty is to stay informed and fully understand how various Brexit scenarios could affect your specific industry or sector.

But how?

The lawyers on the Lexoo platform have been advising our clients throughout this uncertain period. We’ve seen an increase in requests for legal advice from companies looking to assess the likely effects of Brexit on their business, so that they can stay ahead of the curve. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be hearing from some of our leading employment, immigration, data protection, corporate/commercial and intellectual property lawyers on what they think UK businesses should do to prepare themselves for Brexit. We’ll steer clear of emotional and moral arguments, and focus solely on what the law says to offer grounded, practical advice.

There’s no need to keep your head in the sand; we’ll try and answer the most common questions we see and keep you informed of the key issues so that you’re #ReadyForBrexit.

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GC secrets Be strategic about hiring external advisers

Recent research by The Lawyer and Globality shows that GCs are seeking to instruct small and medium-sized firms with increasing regularity as opposed to large international firms. As boutique firms and niche practices are much less likely to be on these companies’ radar, GCs have pointed out the need for a data-driven approach to identifying and instructing law firms.

-- Advise to innovate

Dervish Tayyip, Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft, senses that in-house lawyers are both anxious and excited about managing the risks of digital transformation, but argues that they are “ideally positioned to influence both the direction of business strategy and the pace at which it develops within their organisations.”

-- Partner with your CFO

The finance and legal functions together are “truly the nervous system of the corporation”, particularly in increasingly complex and global companies. Former GE General Counsel and senior fellow of Harvard University Ben W. Heineman, Jr. explains how the GC and CFO can jointly coordinate and manage fundamental corporate issues of performance, compliance, ethics, risk and governance, and organisation.

-- Tackle inefficiency

The FT’s North America Innovative Lawyers special report highlights various ways that in-house teams can tackle inefficiency. Examples include “process-mapping, data capture, analysis and visualisation, and the use of dashboards” and better communication to “tear down silos between in-house and outside lawyers”.

Legal tech Incubating legal tech

MDR LAB, a programme for tech start-ups in the legal space run by Mishcon de Reya LLP, is seeking its second cohort of early stage and growth technology start-ups. Last year’s programme saw six companies work alongside Mishcon de Reya’s lawyers and business operations teams to develop and trial their products, including Orbital Witness, which delivers satellite imagery for use by real estate lawyers, and Everchron, a collaborative litigation management software. Our CEO Daniel van Binsbergen sits on their advisory board.

-- Tech that will impact in-house work

Nitin Batra, Global COO of Citigroup’s legal department, discusses the “explosion” of technology in the legal sector in this video, and explains the four key drivers of change to in-house legal practice: contract lifecycle management, deal tech, big data/AI and legal operations.

-- Blockchain demystified

LegalGeek has rounded up some of the “most blockchainy Legal Geeks” out there to explain this buzzword to the uninitiated. Here’s the blue sky definition from Gary Nuttall, Managing Director of Distlytics:

“The Internet allows us to share data, the Web to view information. Blockchain allows us to transfer value without an intermediary.”

Three more definitions and a video later, if you’re still not clear (and based in London), they are holding a Meetup in April to demystify this further.

-- Legal tech in 2018

The cloud, blockchain and artificial intelligence are the three technologies that will shake up the legal world in 2018. LexisNexis speaks to law firms about their predictions for the upcoming year in legal tech and how these technologies will be applied in practice.

Lawyer stories Women GCs transforming the legal world

Corporate Counsel and Inside Counsel have published a list of women GCs who are transforming the legal world. Hailing from corporations such as Paypal, P&G, AXA and Air France, the individual interviews of these women are a must-read.

Lexoo How we can help you

An FT Innovative Lawyers Awards 2017 winner, we have helped GCs across all sectors including tech, media, telecoms, renewable energy, oil and gas, finance, real estate and retail to vastly reduce their legal spend by building effective, long-lasting relationships with high-quality boutique firms around the world.

Want to find out more about how Lexoo can help your team? Request a demo now.

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The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route under the Points Based System of the Immigration Rules allows individuals to come to the UK to either set up or invest in an existing business. It is a popular option with many, including individuals who have graduated from UK-based universities as well as those with experience in industry abroad. It has a five year route to settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) and applicants can bring dependant family members with them.

The requirements for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa are prescriptive in parts, and wide ranging with a degree of discretion in others. Here, we will set out seven key areas of consideration for anyone considering the route.

1. Funding, first option - £200,000

The most common option, an applicant must have at least £200,000 of their own money available to them as a fresh investment into business in the UK. This can be alone or as part of an entrepreneur team. Third party money can be included to form the funding and should ideally be transferred and held by the applicant for at least 90 days. Where it has been held for less than 90 days or held by the third party at the time of the application, then the third party must confirm that the funds will remain available to the applicant until they are transferred to the applicant or the business.

2. Funding, second option - £50,000

This option is only available to applicants whose funding is through one of the following investment vehicles:

  • registered Venture Capital firms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’);
  • UK Entrepreneurial seed funding competitions which have been endorsed by the Department for International Trade (‘DIT’); or
  • one or more UK government departments or devolved government departments in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and made available by the department for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business.
3. Maintenance requirement

All applicants are required to show they have adequate finances available to support themselves and any dependants applying. These funds are separate to the money used for the investment. For those applying to enter the UK, they will need to show they have at least £3,310 of personal savings which they have held for at least 90 days up to the date of application; for those seeking further Leave To Remain (‘LTR’) it is £945.

4. Location of investment funds

The funds to be invested must be held in a regulated financial institution. This means that there is a regulator equivalent to the FCA in the UK regulating the institution (e.g. bank or building society). If not held in the UK, then the funds held abroad must be freely transferable and convertible to British Pounds Sterling.

5. Business plan

For those seeking to make an initial application, a business plan is required. This will set out what your proposed business is, how it will operate, relevant and specific market research showing what and who the target market is and the projected turnover and profit. Detail is key: it is best to approach the business plan as if it is being marketed to investors. This means that market research is not generic, that projected turnover is based on evidence and that you have the necessary skills and vision to realise your ambitions for the business.

6. Genuine entrepreneur test

This is where the majority of unsuccessful applicants fail. This test is applied to all applicants seeking to make an initial application but is a test that the Home Office will continue to consider in later applications. The Home Office will consider the application as a whole, considering elements we have highlighted above. They will then decide whether they believe you are genuinely intending to start or takeover a business, whether the money is genuinely available to you and that you do not intend to take on any other work except for that at your business.

7. Home Office / embassy interview

As part of the Genuine Entrepreneur Test, the Home Office may seek to interview you. In our experience, this is happening more often. The interviews are rigorous and may last some time. The interviewer will ask questions about your background, expertise, funding and the business plan. It is vital that you know all aspects of your proposed business. The interview is mandatory and the Home Office have a right to request further information, which must be provided within 28 calendar days of the date of request.

Amar Ali is an immigration law specialist at Reiss Edwards who can advise on complicated cases within the Points Based System, including Tier 1 and Tier 2 visas.

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What a year!

2017 has been a massive year for Lexoo and as we wind down for the holiday season, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on what we’ve accomplished over the past 12 months.

Bigger, better, stronger
  • 500 Startups: We started the year at 500 Startups’ Series A Programme, a three-month growth acceleration programme for pre-Series A startups organised by the most active seed fund in the world. We learned to structure and prioritise our decision-making for maximum growth, which set the scene for all the changes and improvements that followed.

  • General counsel and in-house teams: We’re now working with fantastic clients such as ASOS, Vice and WorldRemit, to name a few. We’re joining legal panels, with our global offering and price competitiveness as key differentiators. We also now offer interim in-house support. Check out our General Counsel page to find out more.

  • Global network: We started the year with a presence in five countries; at the end of the year, we’re up to 35, which gives our clients access to an international network of lawyers on a par with the top five global law firms. As an example, a FinTech client has recently used Lexoo to hire lawyers for separate jobs in the UK, Colorado, California, Australia and New Zealand.

  • GC Newsletter: We launched a monthly newsletter which we now send to over 2000 in-house lawyers and general counsel.

  • Growing team: We added five new team members this year.

Faster, leaner, smarter
  • New products for clients: For trademarks, commercial leases, shareholders agreements, Tier 1 visas and terms and conditions jobs, clients are able to receive lawyer profiles and pricing information within an hour of putting in their enquiry, removing the stress and time traditionally involved in finding the right lawyer.

  • New products for lawyers: We’ve streamlined the quoting process for lawyers, and we’re putting them in front of incredible clients they might not otherwise have had the chance to speak to.

  • Messaging: We’ve launched a slick messaging feature that allows clients and lawyers to chat in real time (emails are so outdated).

Building community
  • Lexoo Lawyer Party: We held our first ever Lexoo lawyer event this year, bringing together like-minded lawyers to thank them for being early adopters of our business model and for their continuous feedback and support, and to share all our exciting plans for 2018. We hope that this and future events will encourage our lawyers to feel part of a movement for change in the legal services market.

  • Lawyer referral programme: Recognising that many of our lawyers already work together and use the Lexoo network for their clients, we launched a formal internal referral programme, which allows our lawyers to refer clients to other specialists through the Lexoo platform.

Award-winning
  • Top 100 Startups: We were included in the Top 100 Startups list for the third year running, and improved our position to number 43 this year.

  • FT Innovative Lawyer Award: We won an FT Innovative Lawyer Award for innovation in supporting start-ups, leading on all three metrics of originality, leadership and impact. We were also ranked as a top 50 innovative law firm in Europe.

Thank you for your support this year and see you all in 2018!

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Business of law Navigating change

LawGeex, an Israel-based contract review platform, has published The In-House Counsel’s Guide to Change Management, a guide to help legal department leaders navigate the upheaval and disruption facing the industry.

With examples from the GCs of Cisco, L'Oréal and Telstra to name a few, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to bring about change, in-house counsel can hope to match the 360,000 hours/year that J.P. Morgan saved through applying AI technology to their financial contract reviews.

Source: {LawGeex} -- Fixing the legal market

In a stinging indictment of the legal profession, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) reported last year that the legal services market suffers from a lack of transparency on pricing and service quality.

As consumers of legal services, in-house legal teams often face the issues raised in the CMA report: lack of cost certainty and transparency, lack of reviews on services by other clients, and lack of incentives for firms to innovate.

Lexoo’s CEO, Daniel van Binsbergen, discusses how this can be fixed in the latest issue of Lawyer Monthly.

-- Rise of the “law company”

Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) has published the 2017 State of the Industry Survey of 156 companies across 11 countries and 32 industries. Interestingly, nearly 65% of respondents have never used an alternative service provider (i.e., non-law firms), but Fortune 500 companies are much more likely to have done so. As Mark Cohen argues:

“...legal buyers—especially the largest ones—are signaling that ‘it’s safe to use service providers, even for more complex work’... that means that a tipping point has been reached where sourcing to ‘alternative providers’ becomes the norm—not an ‘alternative’...”

Legal Design Communication design for lawyers

Margaret Hagan is director of the Legal Design Lab at Stanford Law School. She’s one of the leading authorities on how communication can be both legally strategic (i.e., protecting legal interests), and user-friendly. This Legal Design Toolbox is a great primer for in-house lawyers who want to communicate complex information to non-lawyers in effective, engaging ways.

Legal tech The legal technology word of the year

Robert Ambrogi, the “Godfather of LegalTech” (see below), considered his choices for legal technology word of the year. From “AI” to “analytics” to “bot” to “disruption”, this is a solid summary of legal tech trends in the past year. This is his conclusion.

-- 2017 top legal tech influencers you may want to follow right now

Tom Braegelmann, GC at LEVERTON, recently asked LinkedIn for names of the most influential legal tech/legal innovation experts. 77K views, 161 likes and 124 comments later, he’s distilled the responses in this list - a must read for those interested in this field. Our very own David Bushby, Managing Director of Lexoo Australia, is featured as the “one stop shop for all news about LegalTech”!

Lawyer stories How to work with creatives

Lexoo lawyer Shelley Watson is a highly experienced IP and commercial lawyer, having worked both in private practice and in-house as Legal Director for Chivas Brothers (part of the Pernod Ricard group).

Here are her tips on how to work closely with brand and marketing teams and what to look out for when putting on events.

“If you make it clear that you want to get to the good bit (seeing the final pack on shelf, watching a television commercial or seeing their print advert on a billboard) too and that you are working towards a common goal they won’t resent your input, in fact, once you build a relationship with a marketing team they will happily come to you to help them to make sure they are protected and any issues can be ironed out to enable their project to run smoothly.”

-- "Data is like a drug for lawyers"

Lucy Bassli, an Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft, is passionate about using technology to help lawyers get their job done quicker and easier. In this interview she advocates lawyers using AI and machine learning to analyse data, and argues that lawyers just need to be shown how data can help them work to their full potential.

She’s walking the walk at Microsoft: they’re automating processes internally and working on a contract bot to help them better serve their 100,000 employees worldwide.

Lexoo How we can help you

An FT Innovative Lawyers Awards 2017 winner, we have helped GCs across all sectors including tech, media, telecoms, renewable energy, oil and gas, finance, real estate and retail to vastly reduce their legal spend by building effective, long-lasting relationships with high-quality boutique firms around the world.

Want to find out more about how Lexoo can help your team? Request a demo now.

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