Life in the legal department of an ASX-listed company
Working for an ASX-listed company has meant being able to work on a variety of projects and becoming closer with stakeholders post-pandemic, said this senior in-house counsel.
Annie Pang is senior corporate counsel in the technology and networks legal team at TPG Telecom. Speaking recently to Lawyers Weekly, she shared what life is like as a lawyer working for an ASX-listed company and what has changed since the pandemic.
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According to Ms Pang, working in an ASX-listed company means the legal team gets to work on a number of “amazing projects”.
“Being an ASX-listed company in the telecommunications sector, we get to work on these amazing projects that are really cutting edge, for example, 5G, internet of things. There are so many things that are relevant and important for society, so being able to work on projects that are really, I guess, strategically and intrinsically important to the community is amazing as an in-house lawyer. For me personally, I’m in the technology and networks legal team, which is a sub-team within the broader legal team, and I get to work on these big network and technology deals that are challenging, of course, but they are extremely rewarding to work on, extremely interesting,” she explained.
“And I have to say, my stakeholders are way more intelligent than me, and I get to interact with them on a daily basis and really learn from them, so it’s amazing in that sense. We work, obviously, as lawyers, but we also wear so many other hats. So, we get really, really involved in the commercial and strategic decision-making of the company and add so much value that is above and beyond just a strict legal role.”
The TPG law department is made up of 20 staff – making it one of the biggest across the country. Ms Pang said that this enables them to be able to keep a closer eye on the market.
“We have to be careful about the representations that we make to the public and how we operate as a company, not only from a legal perspective but we’re required to have an additional lens on the work that we do,” she added.
“It doesn’t affect me so much day-to-day, but it is important to keep at the back of our heads that we are a publicly facing company and the things that we do have a really big impact on our shareholders. We have an obligation to our shareholders and to the community as well.”
In terms of how the legal team interacts with their stakeholders, Ms Pang said that the pandemic has helped foster those relationships to be closer and stronger.
“Pre-COVID, you would have meetings in meeting rooms and have a nice chat with them. But I think seeing a stakeholder, seeing your colleagues in a home setting where you can visibly see their kitchen, you can see their dog and their kids, it adds a human element to working,” she said.
“It’s been really nice in that sense to have that sort of intertwining of like public and private lives, and I think that won’t go away. I think moving forward, having built that relationship, I think that will carry forward to post-pandemic times.”
Therefore, there are a number of positive impacts the pandemic has had on the profession – and on Ms Pang’s role in particular.
“It’s going to be something that we look back on and think, hey, we really were forced to adapt to new technologies and ways of working a lot faster than we might have otherwise done. I think it is going to be amazing post-pandemic to see how these new in-house teams have really adopted new ways of working. And I think it’s forced us to work smarter and not harder.
“I’m very lucky at TPG Telecom, we are really big on flexible working we were pre-pandemic, which is one of the huge reasons why I actually joined the company to begin with, but post-pandemic, I think it’s highlighted that flexibility is not only important, but also it’s encouraged and it’s given people a lot more time in their day to spend with friends, potentially catching up with them in the morning for a walk, spend more time with pets and family,” Ms Pang added.
“And so, there are a lot of added benefits, I think, that will come out of this pandemic if companies are able to embrace these new ways of working and see them as sort of permanent fixtures in the new world.”