Insights into the high-performing Genesis Legal team
Jackie Mullan shares her experience leading the in-house legal team at Genesis, and we hear from Anna Churton and Claire Adams, SHIFT consultants, who have both worked in this team.
Hear from Jackie Mullan, Group Manager Legal, Genesis:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself – how long you have been at Genesis, and your previous roles?
I’ve been at Genesis for five years, previously holding a Senior Legal Counsel role before GM of Legal. Prior to that, I’ve held a range of legal roles across various sectors, both in private practice and in-house. My background is general commercial however I generally gravitate towards sectors where I’ve had no prior experience (which requires a great deal of up-skilling and learning on the job, essentially stepping into the fear zone where at all possible and hoping to ultimately land in the growth zone). This includes my time spent working overseas (7 years in London working for PLC tech companies and 2 years in Bermuda, working largely in the corporate and financial services team), and then home to New Zealand where I held roles at Westpac and Orion Health. Genesis Energy is my first role in the energy sector. In my spare time, I’m also participating in the MIT xPro COO programme which ends in June 2024, which I am thoroughly enjoying.
What do you love about your job, and what is unique and great about working at Genesis?
The people, first and foremost, but also the incredible variety of work. Prior to joining Genesis, I had no idea how interesting and rewarding the work in the energy sector would be. On any given day, we could be working on projects or matters that span across construction, renewable energy, M&A, technology/IP, derivatives, environment, sustainability, health and safety, privacy, consumer law and much more. Working on key projects and collaborating with individuals from other business units with ‘diversity of thought’ is a highlight.
Can you tell us a little about the Genesis Legal Team make up (clearly high performing being a finalist Energy In-House Team of the year, NZ Law Awards!) how many people, and what makes it tick? Do you use legal tech, other tools to make engagement with your customers seamless?
I have a team of four incredibly talented and highly capable direct reports. They each enjoy the challenge of working on complex projects with various stakeholders across the business and are not afraid to step out of the comfort zone. It’s safe to say, every day we all learn something new. We don’t make use of a lot of legal tech but we do use Dazychain essentially as a legal matter repository (although it is capable of much more), and we are trialing Microsoft 365 CoPilot, which has been fascinating.
What is your top tip for others, from the perspective of recently starting to lead an in-house team – what helps most?
I know it sounds cliché however establishing a positive norm that supports psychological safety needs to be a top priority. Specifically, where participation is equally encouraged and goals, aspirations, fears, concerns and failures can be openly shared without judgement. The focus in any team, particularly a high performing one, should be on the following:
- mutual respect (having everyone’s contributions feel valued and appreciated by the larger group),
- mutual encouragement (building self-confidence and one another’s ability in working effectively as a group),
- mutual support (where everyone helps and supports each other on getting work done and also on an emotional level) and
- sense of affiliation (feeling connected to one another by mutual trust / having a sense of a shared identity).
What led you to reach out to SHIFT – and how was the experience for you?
We reached out to SHIFT when we had a gap in the team. We needed to fill that vacancy with someone who could hit the ground running and couldn’t wait the month or so required to run a formal recruitment process. SHIFT was incredible from the get-go. I met Prue for a coffee and it was clear that she understood the needs to the team, the level of experience and personality we required. Team ‘fit’ is very important to me, so getting the right person in that could both do the job and fit in with the team and broader stakeholders of the business, was fundamental.
How have the SHIFT Lawyers fitted into your team?
We have had two SHIFT lawyers join our legal team to date and I can’t speak highly enough of both of them. Not only are they excellent lawyers who can just roll up their sleeves and get stuck in from day one, but they are also incredible humans. They’ve been an absolute pleasure to work with and my team bonded with them instantly.
Anything else you would like to add?
My experience to date with SHIFT has been better than I could have imagined. They are efficient, responsive and incredibly easy to deal with. I’d highly recommend SHIFT for anyone who needs an experienced lawyer to fill a gap in their team.
Hear from SHIFT Consultant, Claire Adams who is currently working at Genesis:
I have been welcomed by teams who are looking for short term or project specific resource at a senior legal counsel level, and who equally value the flexibility SHIFT offers. It’s been hugely beneficial to improve on establishing meaningful connections with stakeholders at all levels in a short space of time, and always learning about the nuances of different industries.
The legal team at Genesis have been particularly welcoming inclusive, and supportive as I have come up to speed on all things energy. The sector is complex and the workload is varied which I have really enjoyed.
Hear from SHIFT Consultant Anna Churton, who was previously seconded to Genesis:
I have loved my experience with SHIFT so far. Each assignment has been really rewarding and interesting, and I have been able to gain a breadth of experience across various industries and made some wonderful connections.
I really enjoyed my assignment with Genesis in particular – not only was the work varied and dynamic, the legal team itself was second to none. I was welcomed into the team straight away, and felt supported and encouraged by my colleagues and by my manager Jackie in particular. I initially signed up for three months and ended up staying for nine, so that is testament to the inclusivity and positivity of the team culture! They are an awesome bunch.