Dan Cootes – GC Powerlist
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Australia 2022

Telecommunication services

Dan Cootes

Head of Legal, SE Asia and Australasia | BT Australasia

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    Australia 2022

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    Dan Cootes

    Head of Legal, SE Asia and Australasia | BT Australasia

    What are the most significant cases or transactions that your legal team has recently been involved in?

    BT’s global business is focused on large multi-national corporation customers with ICT needs across multiple countries. The transactions that typically keep us busy are our large global arrangements for these customers.

    As with many teams, much of our time over the past two years has (unsurprisingly) also been spent on managing supply chain, resourcing, and market disruption challenges.

    We are also integrally involved with BT’s global digital transformation projects, working to keep improving how we contract, and roll out our ICT portfolio in multiple jurisdictions.

    How do you feel the pandemic has changed the world of work for in-house counsel and the function of the general counsel? 

    First, lawyers need to make sure their tech and online presentation skills are up to scratch! We’ve all become used to working styles and requirements that may previously have been seen as “occasional.”

    In relation to how we work, one point that resonated with me early in the pandemic was commentary that acting fast is more important than being 100% correct, and to accept that you will make mistakes. This is not a natural fit with your classic lawyer personality but obviously makes sense in a crisis. Corporate counsel in my view should already have an ability to act early with limited information – however, I suspect that the speed of change during the pandemic challenged us all in this way of working.

    Otherwise, I do not know if the pandemic has fundamentally altered the corporate counsel function, but it certainly demonstrated its importance; and has made clear that counsel needs to work tightly with other corporate functions to get things done.

    Looking forward, what technological advancements do you feel will impact the role of in-house legal teams in the future the most?

    One substantial change for me will be how legal teams shift from relying on their personal experience to using data for insight. This is a behavioural change as much as it is a technological one. You can see legal teams already doing this with data about their own functions, but for me the interesting changes will flow from what legal increasingly does with the business’ own data.

    Other changes that strike me as significant will be in automated contract review and execution. The former is obviously going to change the role of a typical commercial lawyer. The latter will I think make contract advisors more important – especially where a business can no longer assume a contract will be “kept in the drawer.”

    Dan Cootes - Australia 2019

    Head of legal and company secretary | BT Australasia

    What are the most important transactions and litigations that you have been involved in during the last two years? For BT’s Australian business, we are very happy with the work...

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    Dan Cootes - Australia and New Zealand 2016

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    As head of BT’s Australasia legal team, Dan Cootes has advised on many complex global telecommunications and outsourcing deals, as well as supporting the BT business through a sustained period...

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    Dan Cootes - Australia 2018

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    Dan Cootes has over 15 years’ experience advising clients on commercial technology, intellectual property and data privacy issues, and has particular experience in negotiating complex global contracts. He currently acts...

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