As many of the legal and compliance flexible assignments made during the Covid-19 pandemic are done via remote working, we sat down (virtually) with Luigi Pisani, a consultant in technology and financial services law, to discuss his experiences working on one of Interim Legal’s assignments in this new environment.
Dear Luigi please introduce yourself and your qualifications.
I am an Italian qualified lawyer with sixteen years professional experience in the legal sector.
I graduated in law from the University Of Milan in July 2004 and was admitted to the Italian Bar in October 2007. In January 2009, I completed an LL.M. in International Commercial Law at the University Of Aberdeen (U.K.). From July 2009 until February 2015, I worked in the corporate and commercial department of international law firms based in Milan. Since January 2017 I have been working in Switzerland in the legal and compliance sector for financial institutions and multinational companies. Last December 2020, I have completed a Master in LegalTech from IE University of Madrid which allowed me to operate at the intersection between law and new technologies.
What attracted you to working with a flexible provider such as Interim Legal?
I think it was first of all the opportunity to work for a client with an international profile in a very interesting position, together with the benefits arising from the flexibility of the job itself that allows me to better manage other aspects of my professional and personal life.
Please explain some of the work you have done and areas of focus during your project.
I deal with all aspects of Italian law related to the commercialization of products and services offered by the client, in particular the negotiation, drafting and review of license, Cloud and SaaS agreements, as well as all aspects arising from the applicable legislation on data processing and privacy protection.
Working in a remote environment, what challenges did you have in performing your legal work and how have you overcome these?
Working remotely has become a necessity in the wake of the Covid pandemic. I have to say that I have already worked remotely even before the pandemic spread, so I haven’t encountered huge difficulties although obviously that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.
The challenge for external consultants like me is to create structure within your own working day identifying areas of high-impact work and areas where you can build in flexibility for a conference call or meeting. Being adaptable to changes within a current project that is facilitated by an environment of rapid change which is common in a Covid environment is crucial as well.
Are there areas of efficiency you see in conducting legal work on a purely remote basis?
Absolutely. Working from home means you don’t have to waste time getting to the office and you can start your workday almost immediately. In addition, I have found that I work better and more efficiently remotely because I can count on my own resources and manage my time better.
In my view, the benefits for in-house legal departments are the ability to optimize how work is assigned by being able to tap into legal expertise at short notice on a flexible basis. It is a way for in-house legal departments to become more agile and further mitigate risk.
Is there any advice you can share with general counsel or legal leaders hiring remote flexible counsel in order to make the engagement a success?
It is helpful to provide the following information and guidance so that an external consultant working remotely can start and execute a legal project successfully.
As a general tip, I would firstly say to establish and agree in advance on how and when to communicate and respond, trying, as much as possible, to ensure a certain routine that helps the consultant to better manage his or her private life, which, let’s remember, now takes place within the home office environment. Breaking this down further, there should be milestones and goals to which the consultant and the manager should agree on at the beginning of the project in order to ensure that the vision and deliverables of the project are set in advance of any work.
Giving the consultant an insight into the company’s history, its products and target market, as well as tying the reason for the particular project back to a strategic initiative or overarching goal is crucial to comprehend the reason behind the work.
Depending on the environment and team the consultant reports into, it is essential to be aware of current procedures and processes the legal department follows in relation to the project work.
Finally, it is very important for the external consultant to understand the position of the team head or general counsel as a legal business partner to the company. Communicating the subject and form of how legal advice is delivered and how the legal department wants to position itself within the business allows the consultant to align her or himself with this strategy when they do their work.