Legal for scaleups

You've just joined a high-growth tech company as its first lawyer. How do you get from square one to a dynamic, scalable legal function? We gathered expert insights from legal at some of the world's fastest-growing businesses to find out.

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What's inside?

This eBook contains insights direct from GCs, CLOs and Heads of Legal at Intercom, Monzo, GoCardless, Babylon Health, Snyk, Appear Here, TransferWise and more. From creating a 90 day plan, to building your team, preparing for your first funding round and managing international expansion, they'll guide you through every challenge lawyers face when establishing legal infrastructure from the ground up. Explore the chapter list in full below.

Foreword

Legal for scaleups

What’s it like to walk into a high-growth tech company as its first lawyer? You walk into the office on day one and ask yourself, what’s on fire? The company is growing, moving quickly, has great momentum, so something must be on fire - right?

Adam Glick is the Head of Legal and Privacy at Intercom.

Chapter 1

Your first 90 days

The first lawyer at a high-growth scaleup has an enormous task ahead of them: to build a robust, scalable legal infrastructure from the ground up. Where do you start, and how do you plan ahead?

Henry Bennett is the Chief Legal Officer at Babylon Health.

Chapter 2

Creating an MVP contracting process

There’s no point looking to the future if you don’t have a solid baseline, and there’s nothing more foundational to legal than contracts. How do you build a minimum viable product for your contracting process?

Stephanie Dominy is the VP of Legal Operations at Snyk.

Chapter 3

How to enable your commercial team

Everyone in a scaleup is focused on growth, and legal should be no different. You might have a million competing priorities, but enabling your commercial colleagues should be at the top of your list from day one.

Willem Wellinghoff is the Global Chief Compliance Officer and UK MLRO at PMA Media Group.

Chapter 4

Working with founders: soft skills

Soft skills are invaluable - especially for a lawyer working at a high-growth scaleup for the first time. Here’s how you can adopt and implement soft skills to succeed in your role.

Taryn Strong is a legal and investment consultant at LOD, and co-founder of Wandering Tern.

Chapter 5

Building your team

Once you’ve survived your first few months at a scaleup, you’re likely to realise that reinforcements would be useful. But how do you put together a world-class team?

Ahmed Badr is the Chief Legal and Risk Officer at GoCardless.

Chapter 6

How can legal enable velocity?

If your whole company is geared towards velocity and growth, then legal has a key role to play. What are the practices and behaviours that ensure lawyers are enablers and not blockers?

Sophie Salisbury is the Head of Legal at Appear Here.

Chapter 7

Getting privacy right

In the digital age, privacy and compliance are paramount - but misconceptions and a lack of understanding can make it challenging for scaleups to implement these policies. Here’s how lawyers can enable teams to lead with privacy in mind.

Karima Noren is the co-founder of The Privacy Compliance Hub.

Chapter 8

Your first funding round

Funding rounds involve a mountain of legal work - here’s how can lawyers collaborate with founders and ensure they’re fully prepared for the raise.

Richard Mabey is the CEO and co-founder of Juro.

Chapter 9

Embedding an operations mindset

If your scaleup starts to hit white-hot growth, processes that aren’t robust will break pretty quickly. How did Monzo create a mindset that led to frictionless, scalable legal operations?

James Sullivan is the COO and General Counsel at Ziglu.

Chapter 10

Legal hygiene at scale

If you’re growing quickly, you need to set new joiners up for success. This includes their awareness of legal procedures, policies and compliance. How can you maintain legal hygiene as growth accelerates?

Francesca Porter is the General Counsel at Onfido.

Chapter 11

Legal technology for scaleups

Legal technology isn’t a panacea, but it can help you to carry the weight of your workload. How do you know what to prioritize and when - and who can help you make it happen internally?

Jenifer Swallow is the Director of UK LawTech Delivery Panel.

Chapter 12

Going global: new jurisdictions

Moving into a new jurisdiction is often a complex legal question that could benefit from months of consideration. You’re unlikely to have that at a scaleup - so how do you survive and thrive as your company explores new territories?

Alexis Alexander is the General Counsel at Liberis.

Chapter 13

Entering the US

For almost every type of tech scaleup, the US is the most valuable market to enter, and success there can make or break the company’s long-term ambitions. Here’s what you need to know about entering the US.

Daniel Glazer is the Managing Partner at Wilson Sonsini London.

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