How to be an innovative legal team during uncertain times – Amy McDonnell, Head of Legal Operations at Vodafone Business

How to be an innovative legal team during uncertain times – Amy McDonnell, Head of Legal Operations at Vodafone Business


The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact on organisations, and legal departments have a vital role in safeguarding and supporting their companies. 

In June and July this year, we have been delighted to support junior in-house counsel from multiple organisations and help them to succeed in their roles through our virtual Aspire summer sessions, in partnership with F-LEX.

This unique series of events is designed to provide you a platform to:

  • Connect with like-minded peers at the early stages of their in-house legal careers
  • Hear invaluable insights from senior counsel on career advice during these uncertain times and,
  • Discover how best to support your organisation as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds

Click here to understand more and to sign-up to our future sessions.


From firefighting to being proactive: How can you conduct the environment, rather than reacting to it?


Last week, on Wednesday 17th June, our event focussed around softer skills and we heard Amy McConnell, Head of Legal Operations at Vodafone Business present ‘How to innovate in legal?’', providing key insights from her work navigating in-house law. Below is a round-up of some of her key takeaways.


1.  Make yourself an asset with dual thinking processes. Amy's advice to young lawyers is to really understand the legal side, whether that be privacy or contract law, or all of those provisions. But also learn the tech side. Understanding and learning about technology and how we can deliver those differently and more efficiently is crucial for a young lawyer. 

Amy mentioned that when interviewing candidates she is really impressed if people can ask questions such as: ‘Where do you get your source of data from?’ Or, ‘What technology do you use in the team?'

2.  Keep it visual. Consider using visual contracts, or pictures when trying to present complex information to the business, consumers and other different types of individuals

3.  Ask the right questions to the right people. When designing the way information is presented in Sharepoint, consider going to the business units themselves and asking how it would best make sense to them, and how to answer their question. This is a great way to connect with the people really experiencing the problem, from the outset

4.  Consider simplifying your central contracting structure. Where you contract with customers on a global level, you could think about enabling them to implement contracts for products they need to buy at a local level. This simplifies having a dual process for two contract types

5.  Defining the problem. Define the problem with one line can help clearly identify what exactly it entails. If you have everyone do this, it can become clear that maybe everyone has a different idea of what the problem is - putting it down into one line is a simple way of making sure everyone is on the same page.


What will future sessions involve?


Legal Skills session: Thursday 25 June, 5.30pm - 6.15pm 

Risk management: 5 key priorities for organisations during the coronavirus pandemic. Emma Dickin, In-house, Risk & Compliance Specialist, LexisNexis

Professional Development session: Thursday 2 July, 5.30pm - 6.15pm 

Supporting you succeed – how to advance your career in these uncertain times. Various senior counsel

Networking and Social session: Thursday 9 July, 5.30pm - 6.15pm 


How to register


We are running a series of sessions over several weeks. Each session will be bite size as we realise a lot of legal departments are even busier than normal, covering topics to help you succeed.

Please join us for our next session, which will be held on:

Thursday 25 June, 5.30pm - 6.15pm 

Click here to register.


Further reading


  • Junior lawyer toolkit as part of our In-house Advisor LexisPSL module (fill in the trial form below this article if you're not a current subscriber)
  • Career progression planning – useful checklists on personal development planning
  • Competency Framework framework 'how to guides' content including self-assessment checklists for all levels of legal counsel
  • See full details of our In-House Advisor module here

Not a current LexisPSL subscriber? Use the trial form below to understand more.


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About the author:

Amy is an established writer and researcher, having contributed to publications, such as The Law Society, LPM, City A.M. and Financial IT. Her role at LexisNexis UK involved leading content and thought leadership, as well as writing research reports, including "The Bellwether Report 2020, Covid-19: The next chapter" and "Are medium-sized firms the change-makers in legal?"