Ubisoft Entertainment

Ubisoft Entertainment

Cécile Russeil is chief legal officer and head of the 50-person legal team of videogames powerhouse Ubisoft, which is usually organised by area of expertise but also on a regional basis when objectives require this. Unsurprisingly given the market segment it operates in, innovation is a core value for Ubisoft and this is reflected in the legal team to the point that a dedicated innovation team is located within the department. This unique feature is described by Russeil as a ‘game changer’ for the team, its performance and its culture: ‘Having people with legal and non-legal backgrounds, including engineers and designers, focusing their resources and energy on innovation projects allows us to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, explore new territories (automation, information architecture prototypes, legal design and micro-learning among others) and ensure our best ideas are captured, tested, developed and scaled at a faster pace’. The team is therefore among the best-placed globally to navigate the future challenges of in-house legal work. ‘Over the next few years, our in-house lawyers will become project managers, consultants and deal makers’, Russeil says. ‘This trend is already strong in our team, and I’m sure we will see title like legal operations managers, legal technology developers and legal designers being more and more common in legal teams of the future. In my opinion, in-house lawyers will evolve from support teams to be considered as strategic business facilitators’. Over recent months, perhaps the most important projects the Ubisoft legal team was involved in was the defence against Vivendi, which exited its stake in the company in March 2018, ending a potential takeover battle in the process. Russeil emphasizes the commercial aspect of the legal team’s work when discussing its internal culture, as well as how tailored all its advice is to the goals of the business: ‘Ubisoft legal professionals are business executives whose area of expertise happens to be legal. We focus our energy and talents on being proactive contributors to all Ubisoft strategic priorities to strengthen our operational excellence and our partnership with the business’.