Dating back to 1885, Southampton are one of the oldest football clubs in the world. Over the years, they’ve fostered a strong reputation for nurturing and developing young players.
That reputation is underpinned by an in-house legal team of three lawyers, a trainee, a paralegal, Health and Safety Officer and two Safeguarding Officers. The nature of the industry and the club’s commitments to supporting young talent means that the in-house legal team has a unique and far reaching remit, covering a complex mix of legal subjects. The Southampton FC in-house legal team needs to be ready for almost anything at any time.
Tim Greenwell, Director of Legal & Risk heads up the team. When he joined, in 2016, one of his first acts was to review their legal research and guidance tools. LexisNexis was a solution that Tim had relied on at law school and he included it in the review. During the comparative analysis, Tim was particularly impressed by the LexisNexis coverage, and their approach to crossover between legal areas:
“Having always done this crossover role between legal, risk and compliance rather than pure contracts or commercial, I’ve always been slightly puzzled that software providers, including those that we’ve used in the past, don’t cover those crossover areas. With [Lexis]PSL, we got a much better level of coverage in terms of alerts and know-how. Things we can use for training and growing our own checklists. It’s extremely good.”
Researching risk and compliance is an onerous task with far reaching consequences if mistakes are made. Southampton FC’s legal team wanted easy access to the right documents and information in a timely fashion. Risk and compliance needed to be far more than a tick box exercise in keeping with the organisation’s reputational values:
“There’s a good range of Risk and Compliance materials, checklists and outline frameworks in one place. I think that’s the difference. Everything’s much more searchable, it cuts time and we can find what we really want.”
Taking the lead
The comprehensive review also led the team to another requirement; the legal team at Southampton FC wanted to take greater charge of their workload, improve their scope for professional development and make more effective use of their time. Tim was keen to further unlock the potential in his team. Following demonstrations and conversations, LexisPSL proved to be the best solution for that ambition:
“That’s probably the big bonus. It means that we don’t have to go searching for materials from law firms or from elsewhere. We can actually get the frameworks and then build them out ourselves, which is good.”
“And it means that we’re more self-sufficient, which is great. It means there are more training opportunities and members of my team can get involved in work that, maybe, they hadn’t thought about doing before, from data protection to bribery – going beyond pure contractual controls.”
Southampton FC’s legal team have exclusively adopted LexisPSL to expand their self-sufficiency and become more proactive - spotting issues before they come up. Relying upon LexisPSL, they have become more adept at strategic planning that focuses on prevention rather than reaction. As a result, the effort that goes into the production of guidelines and training materials is more effective and focussed. As Tim explains:
“It’s certainly my goal to be as proactive as possible. Having Health and Safety, Environmental, and all those other compliance areas, investigations and some of the areas like that, as well as corporate white-collar stuff available, is a real bonus for us.”
“It means that we can do a lot in terms of producing guidelines and training materials, rather than dealing with issues as they come up, so it adds that strategy and is very much geared towards prevention.”
“We’ll be going out with quite a lot more training and awareness, and LexisPSL, particularly the Risk and Compliance areas, has allowed us to do that.”
According to Tim, LexisPSL Risk and Compliance has become an everyday part of how the team works, recovering and repurposing countless hours of research and drafting.
“It really is saving us a huge number of hours over the days, weeks and months. Having more relevant support at hand, not having to draft or review documents them from scratch — it all adds up. Also we’re making real headway in professional development. We can be far more confident about delegating work because we have a safe and trusted pool of templates to work from.”
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