Canadian Lawyer InHouse

April/May 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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FACT FILE 14 www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse things available to everyone in the organiza- tion," he says. "I've never wanted to be seen as the legal gatekeeper that keeps all the secret legal documents. It's about making documents available and training colleagues to help them understand as much as possible and rely less on me." The system allows Nguy- en to be more transparent so colleagues can see the current status of each matter until it is resolved. In Nguyen's experience, people often underestimate the change management aspect of introducing technology and regard it as a simple panacea to challenges they may be facing, ignoring the considerable work required before any new system is introduced. Analyzing and understanding the impact of the change is critical and takes time, much like any other change in an organization, he says. Although some colleagues were initially reticent to use Nguyen's legal intake system, some early hitches were ironed out and it now has a 100-per-cent adoption rate from Resolv- er staff who require legal services. "I said, 'If it doesn't come through the tool your work is not going to get done,' so people quickly came around to using it," says Nguyen. "What's most satisfying to me is hearing colleagues say they wish other departments would have the same tool. Legal departments are often seen as less forward-thinking and less amenable to change, so it's nice that we're the ones driving change." When it comes to working with external counsel partners, Nguyen is always interested in seeing how law firms think about technol- ogy and the ways in which it can create effi- ciency. Some firms are adopting systems to allow clients to self-serve, which is something Ngyuen greatly values. "I shouldn't have to get in touch with a partner to get a status update on a project. It should be on a dashboard," he says. "I should be able to access my minute book directly on a platform whenever I need it. It drives accountability and transparency for everyone involved." In the year ahead, Nguyen is considering introducing new software options for his department, including a legal entity manage- ment platform to manage subsidiaries around the world. He is also exploring cap table management software for managing shares and options. As the lone lawyer in his organization, Nguyen values opportunities to meet other GCs in similar situations. In 2018, he launched the GC Forum in Toronto to provide a space for general counsel and senior in-house lawyers from small departments to get together for networking and learning opportunities. Guest speakers cover a variety of topics including a recent session on GC compensation, career planning and team building. Since its launch, the guest list has grown from to 65 invitees from a handful. "For people who are usually stuck in the office, it's critical to get out and network," says Nguyen. "I shouldn't have to get in touch with a partner to get a status update on a project. . . . I should be able to access my minute book directly on a platform whenever I need it." Holds a BA in political science and economics from McGill University and a law degree from the University of Toronto Called to the bar in 2002 Acts as advisor to the executive management team for legal entity management software Athennian Advisory board member for AdventureLink Travel Inc. Assistant soccer coach at East York Soccer Club Named as one of Canadian Lawyer's Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in 2019 GC PROFILE *Hear more from Nguyen, who is a speaker at the upcoming LegalTech Summit. Visit canadianlawyerevents.com/legal-tech for more information.

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