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Brave new world: how to create a tech-savvy in-house legal function
In the emerging legal landscape, technology and an innovative team structure are integral parts ofan efficient legal function. We talk to Bjarne Tellmann, Senior Vice President and General Counsel ofPearson Plc, about the new skills lawyers need to suceed and the impact oftechnology on service delivery.
Tell us a little bit about your background and your career to date…
I have a somewhat unconventional background for a general counsel. I started out as an actor in Norway, where I did some film work in the 80s. In the mid-80s I began taking a Bachelor ofFine Arts at Boston University’s School for the Arts, majoring
in theatre, but half way through I added political science. Over time, I became more and more infatuated with politics and economics and eventually dropped theatre altogether. After graduating, I did a master’s degree in International Relations
at the LSE. I then returned to the US to figure out what I wanted to do. After a gap year in which I watched a lot ofLA Law, I decided to apply to law school. I took my Juris Doctor at The University ofChicago where I fell in love
with the law from day one, as it joined up my interests in economics, politics and human nature.
I graduated from Chicago in 1995, which was when the globalization ofcorporate law was just taking off. I knew I wanted to work internationally so I joined White & Case and worked out oftheir New York office for a couple ofyears until I was asked
to go to the Stockholm office to work on the restructuring ofCoca-Cola’s Nordic and Northern Eurasia bottling operations. I stayed
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Sophie is Head of Learning & Development at F-LEX Legal - an award winning legal tech startup helping law firms and organisations manage a flexible work force and supporting lawyers to make smarter life/work choices.
As part of her portfolio career Sophie runs various learning and development and networking forums for in-house lawyers and mentors junior lawyers. These include Flying Solo for small and solo legal teams and Aspire for junior in-house lawyers which she runs for LexisNexis UK. She also works with schools and organisations to promote social mobility within the legal profession, working with The Social Mobility Business Partnership and Aspiring Solicitors.
She trained as a lawyer in the City and worked as an in-house lawyer for 10 years including as Head of Legal for Virgin Radio and Ginger Media Group.
Outside of work she is happily married with three sons and enjoys morning walks along the beach with her two dogs.
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