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GC Spotlight: Vincent Ng, Klook.

On our GC Spotlight this month is Vincent Ng, General Counsel and Head of Public Affairs at Klook, a global travel platform. Vincent started as the Sole Counsel for Klook and is now the GC. He sheds some light on the challenges they faced when Covid and travel restrictions were in place, as well as sharing his thoughts on LegalTech and NewLaw companies. Let's get into it... 

1. Hi Vincent! Tell us a little about your role at Klook and what excites you outside of work.

Hello! I am the General Counsel and Head of Public Affairs at Klook, an Asia-based lifestyle and travel business. My role has been extremely exciting for the past 4 years as I joined as the first lawyer the company ever hired. Before the pandemic, building the legal function was like building a skyscraper on a high-speed train -everything had to be built fast and steady, and yet flexible enough to be future proofing. During the pandemic, we had to keep reinventing ourselves to keep the team relevant to the company’s business while the company continues to adapt and stay relevant to our customers. At times this feels tiring, but looking back, I am very glad that we pulled through.

Outside of work, I like travelling, which was part of the work. With the pause in travel in the last 2 years, we got a dog from the shelter and I became a dog parent for the first time - it was a very rewarding experience. 

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

2020 has proven to be a challenging year for many. For my team, we have always been very used to working as a remote team since day 1 as we have always had multiple locations. It also helps that as a company everyone is very used to virtual meetings and collaborating virtually. Given how long the pandemic has lasted, helping the team stay engaged is something we always think about. One thing we have also done is to launch our own “Meet the GC” series, where we have invited experienced GCs from across Asia to share their professional journey with our team. These kind of learning opportunities helped to inspire the team, and take them out from their daily work to think about what they would like to achieve.

3. What are your key priorities for the year?

As cross-border travel begins to recover, we are supporting the business to continue to expand our product offerings, and shift from domestic to cross-border focus. As for myself, I am starting to learn more about sustainability and we are looking to launch a few new initiatives in the next few months - I am personally very excited to be learning something new, and hopefully doing something good for our earth!

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)?

We are a very data driven business, with a strong focus on process efficiency and continuous optimisation, and the legal team is very aligned with these. Since the early days, we have always had a dedicated Legal Operations function to help us with process building, contract and approval automation, budgeting, OKRs setting and weekly data analysis to help manage and allocate workload. I am also glad that our Legal Operations colleague comes from project management background and has no legal knowledge. This helps us to look at things with a fresh pair of eyes, and helps us to connect with other stakeholders in a more human language!

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

I expect we will see more service providers focusing on process automation and optimisation for both in-house teams and law firms, as digitalisation accelerates. So much has happened in the last few years, but I am sure the offerings from the providers will continue to mature and innovate, including expanding their connectedness to other areas which legal departments might also be involved in such as ESG.

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

NewLaw and ALSP would play an even bigger role in our legal department especially in the post-pandemic world where flexibility is becoming more important to employers as well as employees.  While law firms will play a more specialist role in providing legal advice, NewLaw and ALSP will fill the gap of volume heavy type of work, and fits in as an extension of the in-house legal team.