Legal Consultant Profile: 'The Tech-Savvy Yogi ' Sean Tan.

On our Legal Consultant Profile this month is the amiable Sean Tan! He talks to us about his legal journey and how he stepped into the world of legal consultancy. Let's get to know Sean! 

  1. Hi Sean! Tell us a little about yourself.

Yes, happy to – I’m a dual-qualified lawyer (UK and MY) and an MBA holder operating primarily in the tech and privacy space. But have dipped my toes a little in healthcare, payments and even the public sector. Oh, and I’m a qualified yoga instructor too.

  1. What has your legal journey been like? What led you to legal consultancy?

It has been very much an inhouse ride as I had left the world of law firms quite early on in my legal career. I started out being in the niche area of bank insolvency and deposit insurance. It was quite intellectually stimulating for a then-junior lawyer who had to help craft national policies and draft laws in addition to the usual inhouse advisory and support activities. I switched gears after my MBA and found myself in the tech industry. After spending some time with a couple of global IT MNCs (with both B2C and B2B experience), I decided that I wanted something new and decided to disrupt my career by taking the plunge into the legal consulting world.

  1. Can you tell us more about the highs and lows of working as a legal consultant?

I enjoy the fact that I get to support the client’s business just intimately, but without the need to contend with, say, the internal bureaucracies and politics precisely because I’m an external legal consultant. I never feel ‘stuck’ in a job. It’s always never entirely the same for each client and I get to learn new things about each of them (and if I’m lucky, learn a thing or two about myself along the way). But it isn’t for the fainthearted – it might not fit someone who prefers predictability and tenure due to financial and other personal reasons.

  1. How do you think a legal consultant can add value for the customer?

By acting less like a stereotypical lawyer with our legal jargons – fairly or not, these stereotypes continue to persist based on the jokes made about us – and showing ourselves as a true business problem solver who happens to have some legal training. You risk being irrelevant otherwise.

  1. What skills will be important for legal professionals in 2021?

If there is anything that legal professionals need to prepare for, it’s the digital transformation (read: disruption) of our customers, and the resulting impact on us. Delivering legal services in tomorrow’s world will involve a multi-disciplinary approach to manage legal and business risk. It’s no longer about what the law says (or not). This approach requires a firm grasp of project management, data analytics and the deployment of technology. What underlies it all is the fundamental ability and desire to adapt – the mindset shift is, in my view, by far the trickiest. As an industry, we are not known to be the most receptive to change. Being prepared for the unknown means learning to be challenged and getting familiar with being uncomfortable. With that in mind, I invite each of us to challenge ourselves by learning something new and scary, whatever it might be, to us – from creating pivot tables to managing difficult conversations.