1) What does this Adjunct Professorship mean to you?
It highlights the importance of the Legal Management topic for the legal sector, which I very much appreciate. It also encourages me to conduct further research in this area, particularly for our business unit Law & Management. It goes without saying that it is also a great honour for me, personally, to be appointed Adjunct Professor.
2) What has changed since your appointment?
In terms of content, nothing has changed apart from the fact that I can get new business cards printed! I will continue in my university role as director of studies, giving presentations and writing papers, and conducting research at the interface of law and management. If the appointment helps to make people more aware of the importance of legal management, then that’s a bonus which is highly welcome.
3) Is management training ahead of its time?
If I look at St.Gallen University including the Executive School, I see highly motivated professors constantly striving to keep their fingers on the pulse. We are ahead of our time in terms of content. Moving forward, we need to decide how to make better use of the opportunities made available to us through digitalisation.
4) How knowledgeable are legal service providers about management topics?
Lots of things are happening at present, on a number of different fronts. State-of-the-art management knowledge could be extremely useful in the legal sector in order to tackle upcoming challenges more effectively. Lawyers in legal departments seem to be more receptive to these issues than the lawyers in traditional law firms.
5) What would you like to focus on in terms of leadership development?
Imagine repairing, modifying and innovating a moving vehicle all at once. That’s exactly what it’s like for us at the moment. The so-called fourth industrial revolution or digitalisation is changing products and services as well as processes and systems, all at the same time and at an incredibly fast pace. We find ourselves in a state of constant change. Human beings can cope with change, however unpalatable that may be, but insecurity causes problems to them, and there are quite a few of those challenges at the moment. Just think that, meanwhile, up to five generations of people with different principles and values all have to work and be managed in the same company, at the same time – that brings additional challenges in itself. Therefore, it’s easy to see why managers need to incorporate change management skills in their day-to-day work and not just at times of crisis. That’s why I constantly emphasise the significance of leadership and personnel management.
6) What are the trends in the legal market?
Thanks for the short question. I could talk now about this for hours (laughs). But I try to keep it brief and to the point. The legal market is becoming more liberal and customers’ needs are changing. From the supplier side, the so-called alternative legal service providers, i.e. those in addition to law firms and legal departments, are picking up speed. Customers will, in any case, respond to these new offers. This also has major repercussions on the supplier side. To date successful business models are challenged and new career and life plans as well as new ways of working and work time models must be considered. In any case, all legal service providers must work more efficiently to operate successfully on the market.
7) Tell us a bit about some non-work-related commitments you are particularly proud of.
I have been actively involved in animal protection for many years and with the animal welfare organisation, NetAP, for over ten years. Animal suffering is a topic providing a different perspective to life. It shows us how privileged we are. We must always keep this in mind.
8) What annoys you?
I get really annoyed when people show indifference to animals and, as a matter of course, consider and treat sentient creatures as products and disposable items.
9) How many hours a day do you work?
If you consider writing articles, lecturing, giving presentations, discussing legal, commercial and other problems with students and course participants, working in animal protection and doing pro-bono engagements and many more things as work, then I could indeed be working long hours a day. In my opinion, though, that gives a false impression of the so-called work-life balance. As far as I am concerned, work is part of life and should, where possible, be fulfilling. Fortunately, since I understand work in this way, I don’t need any time-tracking device to log how much time I devote to which task.
10) Where do you get your strength and drive from?
Thankfully, that comes from many sources such as work, my work colleagues, partnership, animal protection, cats, cooking, good vegan cuisine, fitness, recently from salsa dancing, good discussions, friendships and, oddly enough, something that’s never mentioned in answers to such questions, by ensuring that I get enough and healthy sleep – as far as possible.