Episode 42

Legacy Legal Ops v. Start-Up Legal Ops: Susan Packal, Head of Global Legal Ops at Atlassian

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:00

  • Introducing Susan Packal, Head of Global Legal Operations at Atlassian.
  • Formerly lead or created legal ops teams at Hilton, Uber, eBay, Twiliio, and Snyk.
  • Discussing the evolution and value of CLOC from its inception to now.

Building the first legal ops teams at Hilton: 3:06

  • Working with forward-thinking GCs who see the value of recruiting for legal ops roles.
  • Navigating an organization owned by private equity.
  • Hiring staff into legal ops from adjacent functions.
  • Valuing tough feedback from your GC and allowing it to focus on honing future skills.

Contemplating the chief of staff role in legal departments: 9:51

  • Coming into the chief of staff role from diverse backgrounds like R&D, engineering, and Agile.
  • Bringing program managers into legal teams.
  • Focusing on personal branding and operational excellence to elevate the office of the GC.

Running legal operations as director and chief of staff at Twilio: 12:49

  • Scaling a legal team in a fast-paced start-up environment.
  • Finding success by putting the right leadership in place.
  • Transitioning a new GC into your department.

Setting a strong culture in the legal department at Atlassian: 15:58

  • Going beyond executing and keeping up to focus on strategy and leveraging work across teams.
  • Impressing lawyers by bringing in  legal ops professionals who are already technically proficient in Atlassian software like JIRA.

Comparing and Contrasting Hilton, Uber, and Atlassian: 19:36

  • Valuing thorough knowledge of a business and its practices.
  • Receiving support to understand the company before starting your role at Atlassian.

Considering past career missteps: 22:10

  • Wishing someone had had tough conversations with her about her weaknesses earlier on.
  • Understanding business needs and building a team that takes the company through the next five years of growth.
  • Struggling with thankless aspects of the legal ops role.
  • Acquiring a larger body of knowledge on some topics than your GC, raising their visibility, and offering support.
  • Building trust with your GC by showing results.
  • Emphasizing the importance of storytelling.

Book Recommendations: 29:00

  • Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
  • Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz

What you wish you had known as a young lawyer: 32:07

  • Understanding the finance side of business  earlier in your career.
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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Susan Packal
Head of Global Legal Ops, Atlassian

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