While the IT business is mainly viewed as endless lines of code and solving complex problems, today I am offering a look at this industry from a slightly different angle – from the perspective of an in-house legal counsel. If you've ever wondered what the tasks of a legal advisor in an IT company are, how we support the daily operation and the long-term growth of the company, and what are the challenges that come with this role, then allow me to humbly offer my perspective.
The role of an in-house counsel, especially in IT, is very diverse, dynamic and challenging. As a former attorney-at-law working for many clients on often specific projects, I could describe my current role as an in-house legal counsel as an upside-down version of that -- working for only one client, but assisting this client with all its legal matters, and often in multiple jurisdictions.
In my daily work, I am usually providing support in:
One of the main tasks of a legal counsel is to navigate the contracts in which the company is a party, both with clients and suppliers, in coordination with the Sales Team and Directors. Whether it is the initial stage of drafting an engagement contract or an order, or reviewing a document prepared by the other party, or creating a contract tailored for a specific project (my personal favourite), my job is to assess the potential legal implications of such arrangements (and each of their following iterations during the negotiation process) for Serengeti, and make sure that the wording of the contract minimizes any potential legal risks, while aiming to find a common ground and reach agreements that benefit all parties involved.
Labour law support is inextricably connected to the role of an in-house legal counsel. At Serengeti, I regularly take care of preparing employment agreements, their annexes, as well as internal by-laws (such as employment by-law) and workplace policies, upon receiving the input from the relevant Director.
In addition to this, my tasks occasionally include obtaining work permits for employees, preparing various decisions concerning employees (such as the decision on holiday gifts for employees’ children), and legal support during the onboarding and offboarding process, and even that alone could easily fill one's working day.
Ah, yes, surely you weren’t expecting to reach this far into the post without mentioning all-embracing compliance. Probably one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about the role of in-house legal counsel is the task of ensuring the overall compliance of the company with all relevant regulations concerning its business, and it is no different in the IT sector.
Within the ever-changing landscape of regulations in both Croatia and the EU, I strive to create a secure environment for Serengeti to do its business, and to assist my colleagues in understanding and adhering to the legal requirements, from the statutory matters such as the registration of authorized company representatives, to the infamous GDPR.
In conclusion, I would describe my work as a constant balance between supporting the company's growth and innovation, while identifying and mitigating legal risks to its business operation.
The thing I value most in the legal profession, especially working in-house, is to make law and legal terms accessible and understandable to my colleagues. I firmly believe that the best output in legal is the one that can be understood not only by a qualified lawyer, but also the person affected by such document (e.g. the person implementing the agreement), and trying to strike this balance often involves multiple shifts in writing styles, e.g. between the usually complex legal jargon of an engagement contract and the more straightforward language in which the employment-related documents need to be prepared so that they are easily understood by everyone.
From navigating contracts to fostering compliance, the role of an in-house counsel is to serve as a guide, ensuring the company remains compliant and protected. It is a continuous learning process where I grow through understanding different perspectives and seeking mutually beneficial outcomes.
Das Projekt wurde von der Europäischen Union aus dem Europäischen Fonds für regionale Entwicklung kofinanziert. Für den Inhalt der Website ist allein Serengeti ltd verantwortlich.
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