Osler Undertakes Legal Innovation

It’s pretty rare for a law firm to undertake something like this”  (Mike Fekete (Technology Partner and National Innovation lead @ Osler) and Jennifer Thompson (Head of Osler Works)). 

Mike and Jennifer joined me for this podcast to discuss how Osler is driving innovation, building tools, and launching platform solutions with reusable elements to help clients work better.  In this talk, we focused on one of their many solutions – Osler Capture – a collaborative information sharing platform hosted on Microsoft Azure allowing lawyers and clients to collect and share sensitive information from multiple sources.   

Their journey has many of the elements that our Modern CELA team at Microsoft loves to see: (i) focus on real client problems; (ii) interdisciplinary collaboration; (iii) meeting people where they are; (iv) user-friendly experiences; and (v) measurable impact. And Osler built it…for their clients.

We talk about the problem they were solving for (3:59); their approach to building the solution (6:30) and the building blocks they used (9:07).

Mike and Jennifer speak about the importance of their interdisciplinary team to bring the solution to life (13:42), challenges they faced in building out the solution (16:33), driving tech adoption (19:00), and the goals in measuring value and success (20:40). 

This is not a single use application; it is a platform solution investment (22:28).  Even though they chose to first target the undertakings process in Canada, Osler Capture has multiple possible use cases such as data breach notifications, regulatory investigations, and tax audits. Legal teams (in-house and law firms) across the globe can identify with these scenarios.  

We close with the overall experience – from ideation to use (24:50).  Thanks for joining us. Reach out to Mike and Jennifer to learn more about innovation at Osler!

Tackling Change & Complexity

On the edge of the uncomfortable“. Words spoken by Chris Clearfield (Coach, author, consultant) as he reflects with Jason Barnwell (Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft) and Candice Carr (Senior Corporate Counsel, Storyteller at Microsoft) on tackling change and complexity. How do we get comfortable with the uncomfortable (the podcast in its entirety – no timestamps necessary!)?

We talk about the genesis of the work between Chris Clearfield and Jason Barnwell (2:48) and the great partnership with Modern CELA during early stages of our team’s development (5:58).  How should we think of complexity (9:24)?  How can a small 3-person team tackle a complex problem (13:27)? Where do you start when the complexity is cultural and we face the uncomfortable (20:45)?

We reflect on our own growth (34:18), examine the risks of linear approaches to change (45:33) and close on different models of change (48:41).

Get more on Chris’ perspective on change, including the chance to download a primer, at The Art of Organizational Change – Rethink Risk (chrisclearfield.com)   

Business of Law Podcast – Predictive Analytics, Compliance and Risk

Join Modern CELA as we speak with Alan Gibson (Attorney, Business Developer at Microsoft) and Matt Kral (Director, Digital Risk Solutions at PwC) about their partnership in building predictive analytics tools. We know data is important. We know it helps us to make better decisions, spot trends, and mitigate risks. As an attorney, I always thought that was to be left to data analysts and I could not see the value to my practice. Alan and Matt have changed that narrative by using Microsoft technology to build incredible solutions that helped our legal department better support our business clients and protect Microsoft. After we speak about their individual career journeys (1:05), we learn more about the partnership they formed and the purpose of the solution that they brought to market (5:40), how they moved from a culture of “reactive” to “proactive” in solving critical problems (11:40), the building blocks of the solution (16:51), the future of the solution and compliance analytics for Microsoft CELA internally (21:54), how to get all customers excited about the solution (25:35), the effect of the pandemic on interest and needs (33:00), challenges they faced (36:27), the future for the legal industry in this space (43:25), and how we can listen, learn and help our customers derive the value they seek (48:13 (when Alan asks if it’s ok to mention something controversial…yes of course! Thankful for those last words of wisdom! )

Alan mentions that we should speak to Chris Nelson (Assistant General Counsel leading Compliance Analytics Program internally in Microsoft CELA with a fantastic team) next. I agree.

Business of Law: Protecting Journalists Part 2 (the part about digital transformation)

In Part 2 of this 2-part series, Candice Carr speaks with Beth Henderson (Pro Bono Director and Senior Corporate Counsel at Microsoft) and Pablo Castro (Business Program Manager for CELA Programs at Microsoft) about the digital transformation story supporting an incredible pro bono initiative that tackles the right to information.

First, Revisit Part 1 for refresher and inspiration. Second, listen to this podcast to learn from Beth and Pablo about the challenge they tackled (3:14); the technology building blocks they used (5:10); how the team built something seamless with universal ease for multiple end users (9:32); a few of the challenges they faced and overcame (11:38) and how the team is ensuring knowledge transfer for future builds (16:03). As we think holistically for pro bono, Beth and Pablo will continue to drive digital transformation in the pro bono space, including for our pro bono partners, clients and customers (20:21). Third, watch as Pablo conducts a detailed demo of the Protecting Journalists digital transformation solution.

Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program Part 1

In Part 1 of this 2-part series, Jason Barnwell speaks with Thomas Burke (Partner and Chair, Pro Bono & Social Impact Committee at Davis Wright Tremaine), Beth Henderson (Pro Bono Director and Senior Corporate Counsel at Microsoft), Sima Sarrafan (Senior Corporate Counsel at Microsoft), about their partnership in the “Protecting Journalists” pro bono program. Learn about the issue being solved (1:45) and how a CLE inspired Sima to expand her pro bono portfolio (2:25).  Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs department prioritizes pro bono work, and supports attorneys, like Sima, in such pursuits (5:13; 7:00).  Learn about Sima and Tom’s journey to create a 2-in-the-box system (12:22), the customers they serve (17:15), and how the survival of journalism is intimately connected to our democracy (23:07). Understand the markers for success (30:50) and what kept them going when the pandemic hit (36:38).  Learn how to get involved (37:57) and see the relevant links below.  focus

Part 2 will feature the digital transformation story that helps drive this amazing work.

For more information visit:  Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program – Davis Wright Tremaine.   

To request assistance under this program, contact one of the nonprofit partners below.

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

First Amendment Coalition

Washington Coalition for Open Government