Can you tell us who you are and about your career so far?
My name is Ezgi Yildiz, and I am a Legal Manager at Legal Manager. I grew up in İzmir, a beautiful harbor city in Turkey, where I studied law. During my studies, I temporarily moved to Brussels where I worked as Project Manager for ELSA, the world's largest independent law students association. I moved back to İzmir in September 2019 to finish my legal internship, after which I became an Attorney at Law.
And how did you end up in the Netherlands?
Over the course of my BA, I developed an interest in commercial law. In August 2020, I moved to Rotterdam to do my LLM in Commercial and Company Law. During this period, I worked as a Transaction Associate and my job was to prepare Virtual Data Rooms for companies to optimize major companies' Merger and Acquisition processes. This was the first time I combined my legal knowledge with technology. Not long after this, I saw a vacancy for a full-time position at Legal Manager. The job description really matched what I was looking for, so I immediately applied for an interview and here we are.
What would you say your official title at Legal Manager is?
Well, I think the term "Legal Manager" covers it pretty well. It covers the management of legal projects, systems, legal operations and client advice. Being a Legal Manager, in my view, is about saving our clients a lot of legal headaches. We're like legal aspirin!
"Essentially, what we do well is organize the immense amount of documentation that companies have and create organizational clarity."
What is your role within Legal Manager, and what are your core activities?
Right now, I work at the General Clients Desk. It's the core of Legal Manager's nerve system where we receive and process all client requests, also known as "tickets". Legal Manager handles all recurring and administrative legal work for major international companies operating in the Netherlands. Our core activities are Matter-, Entity-, Contract- and Compliance Management, but we also do custom projects for clients. Essentially, what we do well is organize the immense amount of documentation that companies have and create organizational clarity.
That's interesting! Can you tell us about one of these custom projects?
I recently jumped onto an exciting new project initiated by one of our clients that involved the preparation of a virtual data room. With this project, our team created a standardized system that we can use for other clients. My experience taught me that preparing virtual data rooms can be a painful process if you do not have a clear structure. So to be able to contribute to optimizing this with a team was a great learning experience for me.
Working as a Legal Manager obviously requires managerial skills. But to what extent do you apply your legal knowledge in your work?
As a Legal Manager, you're primarily working with the legal departments of major companies. My law background taught me to think like a lawyer and analyze complex legal concepts. That is why I can assist with work for our Dutch clients even though I didn't study Dutch Law.
"My work is very much about systematic documentation and efficiently processing legal data. So I would say that improving my technological skills and systematic thinking is much more important."
Following up on that: What is it like as an international working in the Netherlands?
I think the Netherlands is one of the easiest countries to get started if you're not a native speaker. Most of the people I met speak English and are willing to communicate in English. Another thing that I personally really like is the directness of Dutch people. It took me some time to get used to this way of communicating, but you always know exactly what is happening.
And how do you experience working as an international in a company focused on the Dutch market?
Legal Manager has many internationally based clients (e.g. G-Star Raw, TomTom), so working here does not require me to have extensive knowledge of Dutch law or the Dutch language. My work is very much about systematic documentation and efficiently processing legal data. So I would say that improving my technological skills and systematic thinking is much more important.
Can you tell us more about the technological aspect of your work?
To understand the role technology plays, it is essential to recognize the global technology transition that is dramatically improving fundamental business processes. Legal Manager uses technology in combination with systematic documentation so that companies can work much more efficiently.
“I like that Legal Manager has a flat hierarchy because it's good for the flow of ideas.”
Do you have to be tech-savvy to work as a Legal Manager?
No, not at all. The systems we use are very user friendly, and the workflow is relatively easy to adopt. Again, it's much more important to think systematically and work efficiently.
What do you like about Legal Manager as a company?
I like that Legal Manager has a flat hierarchy because it's good for the flow of ideas. I can openly share my thoughts and interests with my colleagues and upper management. The fact that I already got to work on the virtual data room structure shows that there's room for your input. What I also like is that there is time and space to learn from your colleagues, while at the same time you get the freedom to work as an independent. The workflow is also really fluid, so you're not stuck doing one task over and over again. Plus, you are in direct contact with the clients you're working for, both as an advisor and a manager. Finally, I like that we handle everything so efficiently. If there is a problem, it gets solved using methodology and strategic thinking.
The entire market is changing towards automated business processes and technologically induced business structures. (...) Companies need to adapt to these changes to keep up with their competitors. I think that is one of the reasons we're growing so fast.
And do you consider working for global brands as a perk?
Definitely! It's interesting to see the business side of many of these brands you use daily. It's like you're allowed backstage at a concert of your favorite band.
Final question: What do you think the future holds for legal service providers like Legal Manager?
I believe in the concept of Legal Manager and how we're providing legal services to our clients. The entire market is changing towards automated business processes and technologically induced business structures. Like with so many other things, you need to use technology to make your life easier. Companies need to adapt to these changes to keep up with their competitors. I think that is one of the reasons we're growing so fast.