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Legal Consultant Profile: 'The Payments Fanatic' Katherine Kennedy.

We have an interesting feature on our Legal Consultant Profile this time. Katherine Kennedy is a Payments Lawyer who is currently a part-time GC at a Fintech Company and does consulting in her free time to expand her skills. 

The legal consulting model allows you to do things that you love without having to compromise one for the other and Katherine is the perfect example of that! 

1. Hi Katherine, tell us about yourself and what are your main interests?

Hello! Professionally, I am attracted to all things payments and tech. This is such a fast-moving area and there is always something to discover.

My home life revolves (whirls, it feels like!) round my horses (one I ride, one which is retired and living the life of Riley, and my daughter’s pony), dogs (two whippet x lurchers) and family (husband and 9 year old daughter). I was forbidden from owning a pony in my youth so I threw myself into music (saxophone, viola, piano, voice) – a passion which I thought I’d pretty much buried until my daughter taking up the recorder has forced me to assume the role of accompanist.

2. How did the journey from being a lawyer to a legal consultant come about? What does work and life look like as a legal consultant? What are the key benefits?

At the moment, I’m both. I am a part-time General Counsel at a FinTech and consulting with the rest of my ‘free time’. I have been lucky enough to have been introduced by KorumLegal to two lovely clients who have already provided me with a range of fascinating work, some of it cutting-edge. Whilst I find that an employed GC role will always be varied day to day, consulting means picking up some of the trickier or more exotic elements that in-house counsel don’t have time to get into in depth, providing excellent opportunities to deep-dive into interesting areas of legal practice. Even routine contract reviews mean more involvement with the client’s products and services; again a voyage of discovery.

3. As an external counsel providing legal support to corporate customers, what are the ways you can add value to their business?

From the perspective of someone who isn’t grappling with the day to day issues, I can provide a fresh pair of eyes. I think we have all experienced the process of a product, approach or document gradually mutating to its final form, and someone who wasn’t involved in that process can ask how and why it got this way, and perhaps how things can be improved or simplified.

4. As someone who has worked extensively with Payments and FinTech companies, what are some of the key trends you are seeing impacting these sectors and how are they adapting their business model to the current set of challenges?

Blockchain technology is coming into its own – it has passed the ‘trough of disillusionment’ in the hype cycle and is starting to be taken seriously as a proper solution. Large financial institutions are looking to the technology to future-proof themselves (e.g. JPM Coin and Italian adoption of Spunta). Libra brought the tech to the attention of G7 Central Banks, which have started to investigate whether they can protect their own positions by issuing digital currencies. And of course there are the cryptocurrencies themselves. These businesses in particular are going to have to be very adaptable as regulation is moving very fast (for regulation!) in this space, and they are likely going to have to move from light-touch or very little regulation to dealing with detailed capital-markets regimes in the next few years.


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