Episode 7

Brand Building for Legal Teams: With Lydia Cheuk, GC at Away

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:00

  • Exploring Lydia Cheuk’s background.
  • Embracing career exploration according to your long-term and short-term goals, even if they change over time.

Making the jump from law firm to in-house life: 03:03

  • Lydia’s journey from being a corporate associate to joining Blue Man Group as an in-house lawyer.
  • Working in theater as an in-house lawyer.
  • Taking risks, learning on the job, and shaping the role of a lawyer in a company.

Lydia’s journey at an entertainment studio start-up called First Look: 06:46

  • The rarity and excitement of working at a start-up in the entertainment industry.
  • The importance of thinking about planning to hire immediately as the first legal hire.
  • Loving the chaotic and rewarding process of building a start-up from scratch.

Hiring at the right time and building a strong team: 09:09

  • Why you should start thinking about hiring as soon as you can.
  • The process of hiring and building the right team.
  • Finding the right fit and evaluating soft skills in the hiring process.
  • Evaluating cultural fit and compatibility.

Moving from media to the direct-to-consumer (DTC) sector: 11:25

  • Moving from First Look to Away, and from entertainment to D2C.
  • Coming into a growing D2C industry with media experience.
  • Adapting to a new industry with ease.

Building relationships and trust with the executive team: 13:49

  • Navigating evolving dynamics with the exec team and building relationships.
  • Collaborating and having a say in executive decision-making.
  • The long-tenured legal team's impact on stability and supporting transitions at Away.

Empowering your team and improving motivation and retention: 16:07

  • Motivating and retaining great legal talent.
  • Giving autonomy, showing trust, and empowering employees.
  • Adapting to remote work, which is a retention lever and improves employee satisfaction.
  • Providing growth opportunities and encouraging professional development.

Fostering a unified culture and goal within the legal team: 18:22

  • Coaching your team and having a unified goal, which in Away’s case is showing up to the rest of the org.
  • Being business-first and serving as thought partners.

Driving visibility into legal’s impact and improving legal’s brand: 19:39

  • Marketing the legal team to the rest of the org, keeping your excellent work as a baseline.
  • Building relationships with other functions and teams.
  • Enhancing visibility and accessibility through office hours with the legal team.
  • Leveraging tailored training to give context into legal advice to other teams.
  • Taking initiative in policy development, working cross-functionally, data sharing, and branding your team.

Building a brand for your team and for yourself: 23:13

  • Establishing a team brand and aligning the team members to work towards that brand.
  • Branding your team as a "team of yes" and as a team that pushes business forward within the constraints of law.
  • Branding yourself authentically through how you interact with the world.
  • Balancing professional and personal interactions.

Lessons from Away's hypergrowth phase and pandemic challenges: 27:08

  • Lydia’s journey at Away, starting from hypergrowth and brand expansion, taking on diverse responsibilities, and learning in a new industry.
  • Meeting challenges head-on during the pandemic and supporting the company through tough times.
  • The value of lawyers in both good times and in times of crisis.

Being on NYU Law’s venture fund jury: 30:13

  • Fostering community around entrepreneurship within the law school.
  • Offering grants and feedback to students and alums with start-up ideas.

Closing questions: 31:54

  • A book that inspired Lydia – Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes.
  • Advice for young attorneys.
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Tyler Finn
Head of Community and Growth, SpotDraft
Lydia Cheuk
General Counsel, Away

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