Can you give us an overview of the legal function at L’Oreal ANZ and how it supports the work of the company across Australia and New Zealand?
The A/NZ Legal function was established in 2012. Since 2017, we have been a team of three lawyers supporting Australia’s 30 brands and NZ’s 19 brands as well as Corporate functions. In NZ, we have a law firm secondee on the ground in our Auckland office 1 day per week.
We have anywhere between 200-300 current matters at any one time. YTD2019, we have closed 754 matters and completed 4503 deliverables.
In addition, thousands of legal tasks at L’Oréal ANZ are automated at a fraction of the cost and time they previously required, improving client satisfaction, higher employee engagement, productivity and improved governance.
What are the key challenges facing the team and how do you plan to address these?
- The businesses we support are “always on” so it’s a perpetual challenge for our small team to service them responsively and efficiently. It follows that, as a legal team we are “always on” meaning our legal services are in high demand, and we need to think on our feet. We support flexible working, which helps enormously with the constant juggle of being an in-house lawyer in a demanding workplace environment.
- Our business is constantly evolving. Legal education is one of our function’s strategic pillars. We run anywhere from 30-40 legal training sessions annually across A/NZ to help raise the legal competency of the business, including how to optimise our legal tech tools.
- As we become more tech savvy, we become more demanding of our legal tech. We work closely on with our legal tech vendors and are in regular communication from weekly calls through to half day workshops. In this way, we work collaboratively to make their solutions more efficient and sophisticated.
Can you tell us about your legal function’s digital transformation journey and what you have learned about yourself along the way?
As a pioneer of transformation for the global L’Oréal legal function starting in 2015, the L’Oréal A/NZ legal team has developed a range of 14 self-service apps to enable the business to self-serve on routine legal tasks.
We also have a bespoke legal matter management system. The team can communicate to its stakeholders an enormous range of metrics including: activity volumes, performance data, risks, and costs on a range of dashboards.
The journey has not always been easy, and having legal innovation as one of the strategic priorities for the legal department has been critical to its success. As a legal team, it is part of our culture to be constantly learning in new and unimaginable ways, and experience teaches us not to take that for granted.
Beyond legal skills, we have learned that we are only truly effective and able to inspire change and the adoption of legal tech if we build and maintain strong working relationships with our stakeholders.
Are there any further changes or new technologies you planning to roll out in the next 12 months?
Our data confirms that our legal function is spending more than half of its time on medium to high-risk matters, so the mission has been partly accomplished, but we want to reduce the volume of low risk matters even further into 2020. To do that, we have several new apps in the pipeline, plus we are also looking to experiment with contract review software as well as RPA (chatbot) technology and playbooks.
We will also continue our Future Lawyers Work Experience program – a collaboration with Deakin Law School and Plexus to allow students to experience ‘new age’ lawyering, as well as giving students interview experience, CV value ahead of clerkships, the opportunity to learn about being in-house and working in legal tech. In 2020, we are also excited to formally offer a law student an in-house clerkship as part of an initiative from ACC Australia + The Learned Crew.