GC Spotlight: Jane Jakimovski discusses how the use of LegalTech and data analytics can enhance the value of legal departments.

Our GC this month is Jane Jakimovski. With an LL.M in corporate law and 14 years of practicing in law firms and corporations, Jane’s main areas of expertise are corporate and contract law and intellectual property. He’s passionate about introducing a strategic approach to legal management and robust governance frameworks. As the General Counsel at Iris, a global marketing agency, Jane oversees the legal team and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and best practices. He’s played a critical role in structuring and negotiating complex deals, safeguarding intellectual property, and mitigating legal risks across various jurisdictions. Jane’s primary mission as a seasoned legal professional is to drive business success through legal excellence.

1. Hi Jane, can you tell us a little about your role and journey into law? What excites you outside of work? 

As the General Counsel of Iris Worldwide - a global marketing agency group, I have the pleasure of leading the Iris legal team and managing Iris global legal matters, covering the UK, US, Canada, Europe, and APAC. The role of General Counsel in a global marketing agency, requires a certain legal creativity for tackling the various legal challenges we face, and it also gives you the opportunity to experience the intricate dealings of the business and to see the results and value of the legal work first-hand. Plus, it’s always interesting to provide innovative legal work for new and existing projects.

I stared my legal career in the notary sector before moving to a law firm. After a few good years working in a law firm, I moved to an inhouse position, when I joined Iris Worldwide in 2017.

2. As a GC, what are some of the challenges that keep you up at night? How are you addressing them? 

With the continuous digital transformation and technology development, and the increasing legal framework developing around it, IP and Data Rights and Regulation are becoming ever more important and complex. More and more we encounter new and specific circumstances in the digital marketplace that challenge the conventional legal approach.

By working directly with the business on implementation of the new technology, I get an in-depth insight on the technology, its usage, and results. Having such insight is crucial for making key legal findings and determining beforehand the legal ramifications and challenges. When approaching these challenges, I aim to align this in-depth understanding of the technology and business intention with the key legal findings, and work with the business in providing the required legal compliance. 

3. What do you think about the use of LegalTech, data analytics and process optimisation to improve your legal department's value? 

With the evolving legal landscape and the increment of the legal areas covered by the inhouse legal department, the use of LegalTech can be incredibly valuable for legal departments. LegalTech as well as adoption of data analytics, and process optimisation can enhance the value of a legal department by increasing efficiency, improving decision-making, mitigating risks, fostering collaboration, and reducing costs. It's an exciting time for innovation in the legal industry, and embracing these technologies can lead to substantial benefits for organisations.

4. What trends do you expect to see in the legal services industry in the next 5 years? 

The change in the legal services industry is already underway and I expect this to only increase in the following years. We are already witnessing the adoption of LegalTech solutions, and this will continue to grow as legal departments and law firms seek to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance client service. This includes the use of AI-powered tools for tasks such as contract analysis, document automation, and legal research. I expect expansion of AI automation of standardised documents, and reducing the engagement of legal assistance to bespoke agreements.  This will lead to increased emphasis on data privacy and cybersecurity, and increasing regulations surrounding data privacy, and thus, there will be a heightened focus on cybersecurity within the legal industry.

5. Where do you see NewLaw/ALSP fitting in the matrix of your legal department? 

Considering the new and evolving legal landscape in which in-house departments operate, NewLaw/ ALSP can play a significant role to legal departments. I would expect ALSP to be complementary to the legal department and implemented for data analytics, providing valuable insights into the legal processes, identify areas for improvement, and mitigate potential risks. Also, I envision using ALSP for contract management and automation of standardised documents, allowing for a more cost effective way in managing the inhouse legal resources, and for more scalability and flexibility in the day-to-day activities of the inhouse legal department.

5. Your favourite tune? And why? 

This is a matter that is subject to personal changes. Currently it’s “Achilles Come Down” by Gang of Youths. As a paradoxically calm song for a timeless dichotomy battle, it’s quite soothing for a day in the office.

Lily Evans and Jane Jakimovski