What did you have to study or learn to prepare you for this job?
I studied an LLB. All of my technology sector experience and technology law knowledge is a result of excellent on-the-job training from my boss, Rohan Isaacs, a passion to become more involved in the industry and a personal determination to stay on top of the latest tech trends.
As a female associate at Norton Rose, what is your opinion about the roles of women in the technology industry?
Interestingly, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Technology & IP team is majority female! However, I know that globally there is a shortage of women in the tech industry
generally. This problem is not only specific to the tech sector, but I’m encouraged by organisations like Girls Invent Tomorrow who provide mentorship and a platform to equip girls with knowledge about career options in the industry.
What has been the most rewarding experience in your career so far?
Having the opportunity to travel, live in two different cities as well as speak at international conferences. These experiences have been instrumental to my personal and professional
growth. For me, that is the true benefit of working for a global business. It is incredibly rewarding to meet counterparts from other parts of the world visiting Johannesburg. For example, today I met my colleagues from Uganda and Zimbabwe who are in Johannesburg to attend our international professional development training academy.
What do you think would help to get more young girls interested and involved in tech-related activities?
Understanding tech and being informed about the benefits and opportunities at a young age would be beneficial. Something that “sparks” an interest in a young mind. For example, talks at schools and universities by women in the industry, media profiling of women in the industry, access and exposure to tech skills such as coding, tech related competitions and events such as hackathons.
Why did you choose to focus on law in the technology industry? How prevalent is this occupation in SA?
Technology is always changing and it is exciting to be part of an industry that throws new challenges at you on a daily basis. There are only a few lawyers with experience in the technology sector in the country and so there is definitely opportunity for adept and adaptable young people to focus their careers in this area as technology continues to impact every other industry out there.
Describe your role at Norton Rose Fulbright, what does it entail?
My job is unique because I have two roles – 50% Senior Associate and 50% Business Development Manager.
I am a senior associate in the Technology & IP team with a focus on data privacy. I also advise clients on various technology related matters, including outsourcing, media regulatory matters, social media and software development. In 2014 I spent four months in our London and Melbourne offices gaining global data privacy experience. Whilst there I had amazing adventures but also
received practical experience in preparation for the implementation of our local Protection of Personal Information Act.
My other role is as Business Development Manager for the Technology & Innovation sector for the practice in Africa. I am focused on providing our clients with industry specific technology know-how, and given my interest in the sector and eagerness to become more involved in our (inter)national practice, it made sense for me to take on these additional responsibilities. I drive the development of our client base in the sector and implement thought-leadership campaigns on relevant and interesting technology topics. For example, earlier this year our team ran a global campaign on big data and the internet of things and currently we are running a campaign on cryptocurrencies.
The legal industry is in a state of disruption and the legal practices willing to take the leap in utilising technology and improving efficiencies will excel going forward. It is exhilarating to be part of the changing environment within a global business, assisting in developing innovative products and solutions for our clients and assisting in defining new roles for lawyers within the global legal practice.
I have also created and head Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Technology Associates Group (or GTAG) which consists of over 100 associates in more than 54 jurisdictions. This bunch of energetic, enthusiastic lawyers seek new and exciting ways to engage clients in the technology sphere across the world.
What is your advice to young women interested in pursuing a career in the technology industry?
Be confident in your ability and instil that confidence in others. Remember that the first coders were women!