Community Spotlight - Conversation with CEO Pieter Gunst

Very much appreciated being invited to participate in Community Spotlight, a series in which CEO Pieter Gunst highlights the careers and experiences of legal and legal operations professionals working in-house. 

In our conversation we covered:

  • My career journey to and w/n legal operations
  • Key responsibilities, challenges and lessons learned 
  • The importance of understanding the culture of your legal department and aligning on goals, and
  • HearstLab's success investing in women-led tech forward companies, including legal technology companies Priori Legal, SupportPay and PeopleClerk. And Hearst's new Level Up Ventures, seeking to capitalize on the HearstLab model with a focus on Black and Latino US-based companies.

The key challenge at any organization is understanding the culture of your department, and helping them see a vision of what the future look of the department is going to be, and communicating that to them so that you're working together. And that's hard. It's particularly hard because legal operations professionals tend to be planners, whereas lawyers tend to test very high in urgency and lower in planning. So you have to reconcile two very different ways of working.

It's good to draw from the well of legal operations professionals who are in the trenches with you. The community a very warm, open and supportive. By seeking out advice and listening to what those who've come before you have done makes the job a lot easier to manage.

If you know what your weaknesses are, and you compensate for those by surrounding yourself with people who have those [as] strengths, it helps you to maintain perspective and to take different approaches with your clientele. And in my experience, when you do that, there's no failure except for running out of time. So as long as you have the time and you have the people to back you up, eventually you will meet with success on whatever project you take on. 

For the full podcast and transcript visit the Community Spotlight.