E19: The future of in-house legal departments with Mick Sheehy, Partner at PwC NewLaw


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How will the Big 4 accounting firms change the legal industry? How will data transform the role of in-house lawyers? What does the future hold for young lawyers?
In this week's episode of The Leading Lawyer Project, we discuss the changing nature of in-house legal work with Mick Sheehy.
Mick is a partner at PwC and a founder of PwC's NewLaw practice. He's a well-recognised leader in legal innovation and his work has been featured as a case study for Harvard Business School. Mick is also the founder of the Australian arm of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC).
In this episode we discuss:
+ Mick's experience moving from private practice at King Wood & Mallesons (or Mallesons as it was then) to in-house at Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company.
+ The journey from in-house lawyer to General Counsel of Telstra
+ Balancing legal operations with legal work
+ How Mick established PwC NewLaw from scratch and assembled the Avengers of legal consulting
+ What's involved with legal operations consulting
+ Technology at PwC NewLaw
+ The importance of data and metrics for legal functions
+ Why lawyers might not always be best placed to improve legal departments
+ The benefits for law firms in using the Big 4 consulting firms to improve their function
+ The impact of COVID-19 on legal functions
+ Using data to re-focus the value of legal functions
+ The evolution of legal careers and what lies ahead for young lawyers.
My favourite quotes:

  • "We've made great inroads into making the law more effective, affordable and accessible, and ultimately more valuable for our clients. But we've also got a long way to go."
  • "A disproportionate amount of innovation comes from younger people who are more creative thinkers and free to think about doing things differently."
  • "I don't think legal departments have traditionally been very good at spending time on themselves. Lawyers and legal functions are fantastic at client service, but not enough time has been spent on thinking about how to run the function better."

You can find more about Mick here:


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