Staying Abreast in the Ever-Evolving Legal Landscape
Philip Bayt, Chief Legal Officer of W.S Badcock Corporation shares insights on the ever-evolving legal landscape and how company stakeholders can ride the waves of technology disruption.
1. What are some of the major challenges and trends that have been impacting the legal space lately?
Some of the biggest challenges for our company have been balancing the need to communicate with our customers effectively and how they want to be communicated with yet, complying with the laws and regulations that seek to protect consumers from unwanted communications. Technology in the communications space has changed vastly in the last few years with the use of cell phones as the primary communication method. However, the laws and regulations concerning consumer communications methods have not been updated to keep up with newer technology, such as texting, ringless voicemail, and the use of artificial intelligence in business. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is a primary example of a law that seeks to protect consumers from unwanted solicitation calls; however, the law is written in such a way that it creates complex hurdles and risks for legitimate businesses and service providers to communicate with customers.
Instead of being the “department of no”, create a collaborative environment between legal and operations where your in-house clients trust you to work with them
2. What keeps you up at night when it comes to some of the major predicaments in the legal space?
Trying to keep up with the ever-changing regulatory environment and industry/technology changes in both the retail and the financial services industries is a constant challenge.
3. Which are some of the technological trends which excite you for the future of legal space?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is something that we have been looking at in the financial services and retail industries. With the advances in AI in recent years, businesses are using bots for calls and live chat in all aspects of business and, with all of the technological advances, it is getting more difficult to decipher between a bot or a human phone call or live chat. From a legal perspective, the use of AI and bots to communicate and assist our customers will help not only create efficiency within our operations but also to help lower our risk because compliance is built into machine learning and is not subject to human error which could lead to legal risk.
4. Would you like to give a piece of advice for the Chief Legal Officer community as to how should they approach this industry?
Be a problem solver for your in-house clients. Often in-house attorneys have the reputation for saying ‘no’ when operations is seeking to implement new ideas or make changes to existing processes. As legal counsel, however, it is our job to help operations achieve their business goals while developing solutions to help mitigate risk and comply with laws. Instead of being the “department of no”, create a collaborative environment between legal and operations where your in-house clients trust you to work with them.