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An insight into life for vacation ownership legal teams

Here, the head of international operations for Travel + Leisure Co unpacks what daily practice looks like for lawyers in this space.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 28 May 2024 Corporate Counsel
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Vacation ownership, Travel + Leisure Co president and managing director of international operations Barry Robinson (pictured) tells Lawyers Weekly, is a “multifaceted” industry, though primarily operating within the hospitality and accommodation sectors, yet regulated under financial services in Australia.

As a result, legal teams such as his manage a diverse array of legal matters, spanning financial services, workplace health and safety, mergers and acquisitions, property ownership, employment, data privacy, and consumer finance – and across multiple jurisdictions.

“Given the specialised nature of these fields and markets, it’s unrealistic to expect in-house lawyers to be experts in all areas, thus making regular reliance on external specialist support necessary,” he said.


By virtue of being in a “niche industry with a demanding skill set”, the focus for the law department must be on nurturing young talent and advancing the lawyers already in-house, Robinson suggested.

Operating in multiple countries adds complexity, he continued, due to differences in legal systems, regulations, and cultural norms.

“Navigating these complexities requires a deep understanding of local laws and practices, as well as effective coordination across international teams. Also, the legal industry is increasingly embracing technology, with advancements such as artificial intelligence and automation transforming legal processes,” Robinson said.

“Keeping pace with these technological developments and leveraging them effectively to enhance legal operations requires ongoing investment and adaptation.”

This said, Robinson added, vacation ownership is experiencing notable expansion, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, which presents exciting growth opportunities for the industry.

“We are exploring the Middle East market, which has provided our legal team the opportunity to venture into new territories, gain insights into diverse legislative systems, and strengthen connections with government and industry bodies,” he said.

“One of our lawyers in the Asia-Pacific region recently transitioned from the Gold Coast, Australia, office to Singapore to take on a more senior role. Lawyers who stay within the industry and perform well tend to receive promotion and recognition opportunities as they gain experience.”

When asked about leveraging external support to grow the knowledge of the legal team, Robinson responded that, firstly, it entails establishing strong relationships with external legal counsel and/or firms that possess expertise in specific areas of law relevant to our industry and markets.

“These partnerships enable us to tap into their specialised knowledge and insights as needed,” he said.

Additionally, he went on, the legal team actively engages in knowledge-sharing initiatives with external partners, such as attending legal seminars, webinars, and workshops relevant to our industry.

“This allows us to stay well informed of legal developments, industry trends, and best practices. Seeking external legal opinions and advice on complex legal matters provides valuable insights and perspectives that complement our in-house expertise,” Robinson said.

This collaborative approach, Robinson submitted, “ensures that we have a comprehensive understanding of legal issues and enables us to make informed decisions”.

When it comes to best practice for legal teams in the vacation ownership space, Robinson advised that prioritising building strong relationships with reliable external counsel partners who have a deep understanding of multiple markets is essential.

“This not only strengthens our partnerships but also streamlines our operations by reducing the number of partners intimately familiar with our business and industry. Internally, knowledge-sharing is ingrained within our team culture,” he said.

“Additionally, we partner with multiple industry bodies in the vacation ownership and hospitality sectors across our markets to stay well informed about any legal changes.”

Lawyers Weekly will host its inaugural Partner Summit on Thursday, 20 June 2024, at The Star, Sydney, at which speakers will address the range of opportunities and challenges for partners and partner equivalents, provide tips on how they can better approach their practice and team management, and propel their businesses towards success. Click here to book your tickets – don’t miss out! For more information, including agenda and speakers, click here.