Legal Consultant Profile: 'The Flexible Time Scrooge' Elsa Ho.
- Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was transferred to HK (my hometown by birth) in 2015 after living most of my life in the UK (my adopted hometown). It was for work that I returned and it’s for the people that I decided to stay in this city amidst desperately missing the greenery, space, my local pub and unlimited access to British beef.
- What’s your journey in the legal field been like?
This is my second career and industry, so I figured at an early stage that I need move fast, to learn and position myself within it. Little did I realise at the time that the road itself is fast and furious! In the last 5 years alone, this road has taken me across 3 jurisdictions (UK, HK and Manila) with steep learning curves (BigLaw, outsource hubs, in-house and NewLaw) and a few motion sickness along the way but from where I am standing now, the journey has taken me to meet some invaluable mentors, colleagues and consultants and they alone have made this journey worthwhile.
- What made you want to get into Law and Legal Operations?
Back in 2011, I was feeling disengaged with reporting and monitoring the same process and progress as a project manager and I needed more of a challenge. Granted that I have a self-professed and unashamed love for process mapping, I investigated into further fields of education where I could continue with it. Oddly enough at the time, I saw the law books and regulations as this colossal project waiting to be mapped. I guess you could say, I mapped my way into Law.
As for Legal Operations, it wasn’t a hype in the UK when I graduated, and I never thought there’d be a role for it. Years of combining education with a full-time job have changed me into a time scrooge and I find myself scrutinizing over how and where I use my time. In my first role as a paralegal, I scrutinized over existing heretical processes. At the beginning, it was simply referred to as ‘just Elsa’s way’ of working, but it was soon noticeable that I was handling thrice the workload compared to others by simply removing wasteful processes and duplicating tasks. Similar experience from my later career in law all lead to the same conclusion - the operations of legal teams is due for a rejig and there are opportunities in it for a mapping time scrooge with project management skills.
|Related Content: Interested in Legal Operations? Read 'Law as a Process: How Process Design Defines Value, Delivers Efficiency, and Drives Business Strategy'|
- What kind of clients have you worked with and on what type of matter?
I only joined KorumLegal from July but already involved with clients from corporate, startups and legal academies. Being NewLaw, KorumLegal is flexible to their client’s need so my scope of work is never the same but mainly focuses on auditing, evaluating, improving and training clients on all things process and enabling technology related. In addition, as KorumLegal’s own Legal Operations Manager, I continue to work with different departments to enhance current processes and automate some of them within our internal operations platform to reduce time and resource wastage.
- Do you have any tips for consultants looking into joining the flexible workforce? Any Dos and Don’ts?
Other consultants have covered the general grounds in their blogs, so I want to indulge my geekiness and focus on the term ‘Multitasking’ and that it’s a means to an end and not an end in itself.
In general this is considered a good skill and you imagine someone with multiple hands holding various office items as you say the word. Now imagine the office items being replaced with contracts, policies, scalpels and drugs and suddenly you feel uneasy with the image.
The term ‘Multitasking’ originates from computer processing, defined as a single CPU simultaneously processing multiple streams of work with pre-set and predictable outcomes because everything has been pre-determined and pre-defined, resulting in a slithering chance of error. This explains why low risk items can sit comfortably in our image but not for any items where the stakes are high and undivided attention is the basic requirement to facilitate any potential favourable outcomes.
Since multitasking is a process methodology, I suggest we use it as such to process multiple streams of workloads, priorities, time restrictions, our attention span and capabilities for the day, resulting in a task list with allocated time and scope. Then, we MONOTASK, giving undivided attention to a single task until the allocated time has passed. The combination of the two methodologies provide us with the flexibility we need as legal consultants but also the focus for delivering good quality deliverables. As Joss Whedon had said ‘The secret of multitasking is that it isn’t actually multitasking. It’s just extreme focus and organization.’
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