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GC Spotlight: Dan Ryan, General Counsel, Everledger.

On our GC Spotlight this time is Dan Ryan! He is the General Counsel at Everledger, a digital transparency company - providing technology solutions to increase transparency in global supply chains. He talks to us about being a compassionate modern GC and his key priorities for the year! Let's get the inside story from him...

1. Hi Dan! Tell us a little about yourself. What does it mean to you to be a modern GC? 

I have acted as for a variety of technology companies throughout my career both as general counsel and external advisor both in Australia and Asia. In-house legal roles have definitely expanded over this time and the type of function they perform has broadened. I think, above all, it is important to ensure one is flexible, professionally competent and up-to-date, and to be able to communicate well to both internal and external stakeholders. I think an international perspective is crucially important. 

2. What have been your biggest challenges during the pandemic? 

Queensland, where I am lucky to be based, has fortunately been spared the lengthy lockdowns that other parts of the world have experienced over the last year and a bit. It has nevertheless been a trying time and put great strain on some of my colleagues at Everledger in London, the United States, India and elsewhere. It has been more important than ever to check-in on people to keep an honest and positive attitude and to inspire hope for a brighter future. 

3. What are your key priorities for the year? 

We remain focused on building key areas of the business particularly critical mineral supply chains where we were fortunate to win a major Australian government role. The challenge, as always, is to ensure legal risk is appropriately managed, that time and resources are used effectively, and finding ways to structure new as well as build on existing commercial deals with our clients and partners. 

4. What do you think about the use of LegalTech, data analytics and process optimisation to improve your legal department's value (e.g. data relating to contracts, risk, tracking workflows, performance metrics, costs)? 

I welcome the variety of different technologies that have transformed many industries including the legal industry. I think it is important that existing technology tools are constantly assessed, that new tools are properly utilised that staff are properly trained and new tech does not become a distraction, and that one is generally open to a variety of different means of engaging with external providers. 

5. What developments or trends do you expect to see in the legal services industry in the next 5 years? 

I think we will gradually move in the direction of more transparency regarding skills and pricing. I think there will be further movement away of rigid types of engagement and greater ease in quickly accessing specialist legal services from bespoke providers. I think that major transactions will still involve the use of traditional law firms but that even in this area there will be great scope for supplementing their services from other alternative legal service providers. 

6. Where do you see NewLaw/ALSP fitting in the matrix of your legal department? 

I think the right NewLaw providers if engaged and managed well are a very welcome addition to the resources that a modern general counsel has to assist them with navigating the challenges of internationally focused businesses.