In this episode, we take a look at what it means to do law differently from an in-house perspective. Sheldon Renkema is the General Manager of Legal at Wesfarmers, a top 10 ASX listed company which has been around for over 100 years.  

Sheldon leads a team of lawyers who support Wesfarmers’ well known businesses –  Kmart, Target, Bunnings, Officeworks and Industrial and Safety businesses. He also leads the businesses’ legal operations working group. 

I talk to Sheldon about the challenges faced by in house teams. As it turns out, they’re not all that different by those faced by external providers!  We also talk about how legal operations looks at Wesfarmers and Sheldon some examples of automation tools that they’ve built in an attempt to satisfy the more-for-less demands from their clients. 

1:50 Defining the challenges faced by in-house teams – minimising costs as a cost centre and managing the increasing demands of sophisticated clients

4:52 Legal operations any continuous improvements

6:14 Using self-serve tools to automate straightforward legal work

9:17 Acknowledging the change management piece – not everyone likes automation!

10:28 But will we be replaced by robots!?

13:34 Criteria for selecting work to automate

16:08 How to get staff to engage in legal operations

19:52 About CLOC – an organisation committed to improving legal operations

23:17 Sheldon’s advice for in-house teams looking to do law differently – “just have a go”


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