@LegalBizzle

March 15th, 2011

Legal Bizzle

In-house commercial / contracts lawyer

Author of The Bizzle blog

Relatively ordinary person with a sense of perspective and a social conscience

Today we’re v excited to be tweeting w/ @legalbizzle, in-house commercial & contracts lawyer who’s been “saving your ass since 1999”

  1. @legalbizzle thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @legalbizzle?
    I’m a commercial contracts lawyer who trained and works in-house. I’m probably not as good as I think I am
  2. Can you tell us about your company. What does it do?
    We do outsourced customer contact and back office processing for private and public sectors. Service, sales, collections etc
  3. How do you describe your role at that company?
    I negotiate contracts and provide general advice. I also manage the legal team incl contentious work, reporting to the GC.
  4. Beyond the in-house services you provide, what are your company’s typical legal needs?
    Specialist contract advice (e.g. public procurement) and also regulatory advice, employment and debt litigation
  5. How many outside firms do you generally work with? Is that the right number?
    Two each for commercial work and debt lit, one for employment, and ad hoc for specialist. We don’t send much outside, so yes
  6. Let’s talk about your selection of lawyers. What type of sales / marketing pitch do you respond well to?
    One that recognises our difference from other clients, in terms of the nature of our business and our legal needs
  7. Makes sense…. And what sales talk is guaranteed to send you running? How often do you hear it?
    One that ignores our in-house capability and assumes that we need advice on basic issues. Too often, unfortunately
  8. Does social media enter into the equation when you’re selecting outside counsel? How?
    (1/2) Not historically, but there’s lawyers showing expertise on Twitter that would lead me to them if I had a specific need
    (2/2) We’ve done that recently, based on responses to a question that I tweeted. My boss now thinks I’m a social media guru
  9. What about fee arrangements? Hourly billing, alternative fees, etc: what’s typical for your company?
    We want caps or fixes on transactional work. Firms won’t ditch hourly billing for contentious work – this needs to change
  10. Couldn’t be more clear…. How important are perso relationships in hiring process? Do you hire lawyers you never met?
    Essential for core work (see my blog). For specialist work expertise has more weight but there’s still a personal dimension
  11. What does the Legal Services Act mean for you as a client? Better service? Lower costs? Something else?
    Very little so far. But the nature of our business means that there might be conflicts that stop us instructing some ABSs
  12. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    (1/2) In May 2010. My aim was and is to have fun, but it’s been amazing for news, expertise, support, friends and much more
    (2/2) It has so many facets, why rule any of them out? So I’m happy to let it take me wherever it leads
  13. Great approach…. You blog (http://bit.ly/flEYxg) and tweet anonymously. Why the secrecy? Is it a burden or a relief?
    I prefer anonymity because I’m self-conscious about my writing, so it gives freedom in that sense. I try not to abuse that
  14. But in spite of your anonymity, your writing is often very personal. Is there a line between public & private? Where?
    (1/2) I don’t have much to say about actual law that others can’t say far better, so I blog about my work and my experiences
    (2/2) But there is a balance between being interesting and being responsible. I don’t know if I always get that right
  15. It certainly seems you do. You give out a lot of advice in your blog. Who is it for? Do you know if they’re reading it?
    I write for myself but I appreciate it a lot when people read or share a post. It’s exciting to contribute to a conversation
  16. We’re glad that you do….. What would you say is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    It seems there’s pressure on revenue, from legal aid cuts to ABSs. But the in-house sector is somewhat insulated from these
  17. What are the biggest legal issues facing in-house lawyers & how do they affect their employers’ ability to do business?
    In my work, the rise of coercive procurement practices, which leads to an imbalance of risk between buyers and sellers
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I studied philosophy at university, so if I wasn’t a lawyer I’d probably be sitting at home in my pants watching daytime TV
  19. :-) How do you want to be remembered?
    As a good lawyer, and someone who made a contribution to the success of the business that employs me. And as a good husband
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Sorry, I don’t understand the question… But sometimes I’m allowed out to see bands and spend time with my amazing wife
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Look in-house – we may hire more as we look to cut our external spend. But you need to show the right skills
  22. And our final question for you: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Read my blog? More seriously, knowing the law is standard, so develop your non-legal skills to differentiate yourself

Solid advice and yes, your blog is very instructive re real life as a lawyer. Thanks so much for the great interview!

Much thanks to @22twts and @LanceGodard for great interview – really enjoyed doing that.

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@in_house_lawyer

September 30th, 2010

Melanie Hatton

Head of Legal at Latitude Digital Marketing Limited

Author of In-House Lawyer legal blog

Social Media Enthusiast

Today we’re excited to be tweeting w/ @in_house_lawyer, Head of Legal at an online digital mktg co? Our 1st in-house interviewee!

  1. @in_house_lawyer thank you so much for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @in_house_lawyer?
    Hello there Lance, thank you for the opportunity
    I’m Melanie Hatton. In-house counsel for @Latitude_Group. I’m also a mum to a 5 year old son and a social media enthusiast
  2. Tell us about @Latitude_Group. What does it do?
    @Latitude_Group is leading the digital revolution! We provide PPC SEO display and other online marketing solutions. (1/2)
    We make our clients visible on the web and target their online customer base effectively. Its an exciting industry
  3. Sounds like interesting work. How do you describe your role at @Latitude_Group?
    I wear many hats. I’m the lawyer, but I also manage the HR, training & development and office services for the company
  4. What are your company’s typical legal needs?
    I cover the co/co, employment, and litigation; and use externals for corp finance, property, an occasional second opinion
  5. How many outside firms do you generally work with? Is that the right number?
    Just 2 and I’d like to get that to 1! Its cost-efficient and makes for a better relationship with more value-add (1/2)
    Some in-house teams operate a ‘horses for courses’ approach, but that doesn’t work for us
  6. Let’s talk about your selection of lawyers. What type of sales / marketing pitch do you respond well to?
    One which demonstrates a quality and dynamic service, with experts who are enthusiastic about our industry
  7. And what type of sales talk is guaranteed to send you running? How often do you hear it?
    Any pitch which doesn’t recognise need to work in a co-ordinated way with in-house team. Not seen too often , but happens
  8. Does social media enter into the equation when you’re evaluating outside counsel? How?
    I warm to any firm/lawyer using soc med; I’d worry if the firm I’d chosen for its position in a technology industry (1/2)
    .. started to fall behind the field. Like I said before, I like lawyers who are enthusiastic about my industry
  9. Makes perfect sense… What about fee arrangements? Hourly billing, alt fees, etc: what’s typical for your company?
    Fees based on value of product/service delivered, and not the time it takes to deliver it is important. So fixed or capped
  10. Finally, how important are personal relationships in the hiring process? Do you hire lawyers you’ve never met?
    I’ve never hired a lawyer whom I’ve never met. Personality and cultural-fit are very important factors
  11. What does the Legal Services Act mean for you as a client? Better service? Lower costs? Something else?
    More competition in the legal market place I hope. Lawyers finding more creative ways to provide their services (1/2)
    Not just creativity in terms of fee structures, but the services themselves and how they’re delivered
  12. Let’s talk about you. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    12 months ago. 1st obj was to obtain a daily legal know-how stream. Now, I share my own know-how, develop my niche & network
  13. You blog (http://bit.ly/bdXlay), are active on Twitter, etc. Where do you draw the line between public and private?
    I blog/tweet law, work & my perspective of both. I’ve a separate twitter acc for personal tweets & I never tweet about what I eat!
  14. You were in private practice before you went in-house. What led you to make the switch?
    I trained 50/50 in-house/pp. When I was in pp I was on secondment in-house most of the time. I’ve always thought it…(1/2)
    …an honour for a company to put their faith in an employed team of lawyers to be their preferred legal resource.
  15. What’s a typical day for the Head of Legal at an online digital marketing company? How much law does it involve?
    Signing off client/supplier contracts, ensuring the company has a corporate “memory”, keeping up with industry developments. 1/2
    I use my legal skills 100% of the time, but my legal knowledge 50%. The other 50% is running the business support team
  16. What is the most significant issue currently facing lawyers in commerce and industry?
    The ECJ Akzo case on #privilege is the biggie. We’re no longer afforded privilege in EU competition matters. (1/2)
    The decision devalues inhouse lawyers and we work so hard to bring value to our companies. Disappointing
  17. And what is the most significant legal issue currently facing the digital marketing industry?
    Behavioural advertising is in the spotlight for its privacy implications in a huge way, legally & ethically… (1/2)
    The exchange of personal data for online advertising and information is shaping the digital landscape we live in
  18. Indeed. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    A journalist or magazine editor. And if I didn’t have to work at all, I’d put back into the local community/village/school
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    This is the toughest question! I’d just like for the people who matter to me to remember me in a positive way
  20. This one should be easier: what do you do when you’re not working?
    I’ve recently taken up photography but mainly I keep my 5yo entertained: swimming, walks in forest, building lego star wars
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Be creative & adventurous about how you apply your knowledge & skills to keep a profile in the profession. Soc med helps
  22. Finally, what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Find an entirely unrelated interest too. That & your legal wisdom will connect in future & make you stand out in the crowd

Thank you v much for this great interview. I truly enjoyed tweeting with you and getting your in-house perspective!

I’ve had a brilliant time this evening too, thankyou for having me on your twitterview, and thanks to everyone who followed

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