Simon Lewin – GC Powerlist
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Australia 2022

Telecommunication services

Simon Lewin

Group General Counsel & Company Secretary | Vocus Group

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    Australia 2022

    legal500.com/gc-powerlist/

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    Simon Lewin

    Group General Counsel & Company Secretary | Vocus Group

    Team size:  16

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

    The most significant transactions that the Vocus legal team have recently been involved in are: (i) Vocus Group’s $4.7bn takeover by a consortium comprising Macquarie Asset Management (a division of Macquarie Bank) and Aware Super. The six-month transaction involved the delivery of significant strategic and tactical leadership by the Vocus legal team to the Vocus board and executive team across all areas of the public takeover; (ii) negotiating and finalising construction contracts for the creation of a 1,000km fibre optic cable, connecting the North-West Cable System and the Australia Singapore Cable, valued at over $100m; (iii) settlement of a high-profile Federal Court action with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The Federal Court proceedings were commenced following a two-year investigation by the ACCC into broadband speeds and performance; (iv) managing Vocus’ regulatory and risk management approach during the Covid-19 pandemic, which included working with and lobbying various government departments and the wider telecommunications/energy industries; (iv) performing an essential role in the contractual design and implementation of Vocus’ new future-state network and technology program, a three-year multi-million-dollar investment to consolidate Vocus’ network and business support systems, turning it into the growth engine for the business.

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

    During the initial outbreak of the pandemic, in-house lawyers were required to quickly adapt to ever-changing rules and government orders, resulting in many general counsels and in-house lawyers being engaged directly at the board and executive level to help them navigate the changing landscape. Positively, this meant that they found themselves at the forefront of strategy discussions which directly impacted business operations, affording them the opportunity to become more business-minded and commercially focused lawyers. Being less physically connected also saw many in-house lawyers working harder at engaging with their key stakeholders, acting as a catalyst for them to be more proactive in helping the business and more personable in their engagement style. This cultural shift resulted in in-house lawyers becoming critical partners of the business rather than just being an obstacle that needed to be cleared. In an environment where the function of the general counsel is being asked to do more with less, the ability to add value in areas outside of the traditional legal skillset has enabled in-house lawyers to become thought leaders and stakeholder’s instrument to the success of their business. Whilst lawyers have long resisted the adoption of technology, recent advancements in legal artificial intelligence, automation and self-service tools will help in-house legal teams drive these efficiencies and positively impact productivity.

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