Career Story – Mollie Tregillis
What you currently do and what you enjoy about it
I lead MinterEllison’s Legal Optimisation Consulting practice, which assists in house legal teams improve operational efficiency, develop high performing teams and provide strategic client service.
What this means in practice is that we work with our clients to navigate major programs of change whether that is change relating to their people, processes, technology or all three. This work ticks all my boxes – people focussed, problem solving, huge amounts of variety and a great toolkit to draw on including design thinking, Agile methodologies, Lean Six Sigma, project management , data analytics and more.
It is incredibly satisfying to see teams adapting to the ever changing demands on in house lawyers and feeling supported and excited for the changes rather than feeling pressured or overwhelmed.
I also really enjoy working with an amazing group of experts within MinterEllison, including our 70+ Legal Operations SMEs who are a tight knit, high performing team who love what they do.
How you got to where you are
I started my career as a litigation lawyer, but found myself more drawn to the project management aspects of large matters, rather than the legal issues. I then moved into a Legal Project Management role, which transformed into a Legal Operations role as this field first developed in Australia. From there I moved firms into a Head of Legal Operations role at MinterEllison reporting to the Chief Digital Officer and supporting the Disputes line of business.
There was increasing demand from clients for Legal Operations services and we found ourselves delivering this work as well as our BAU work (which was focused on optimisation for the internal legal teams). Due to this demand, we set up a centre of excellence to consolidate our focus on delivering client services – this is the Legal Optimisation practice that I now lead.
Along the way I have had a series of hugely experienced and supportive leaders who have recognised my drive and opened the door for new opportunities. I have also worked with great collegiate teams (which I think is common for Legal Operations teams – maybe because we all feel we have struck gold and found our dream jobs!) who have been consistently open to sharing insights and information, and collaborating on projects without ego. All this has been critical for the consistent enjoyment of my job, as well as my trajectory towards leading a consulting practice.
What advice you’d give others following the same path
Here are some tips I would give anyone looking to work in this area:
- Find your ‘way’ of working. There is such a diverse range of skill sets amongst Legal Operations professionals and all add something fantastic to the mix. I think knowing the way you perform best and seeking out opportunities to play to your strengths is key.
- Surround yourself (and/or seek out) great mentors, colleagues and supporters. There is such a wealth of expertise out there and in my experience, a real openness to sharing information and insights. Leverage this to work out where you want to focus effort in moving your career along.
- Keep empathy front and centre. This work only succeeds when we bring empathy in buckets. We are often talking about supporting major change within an industry that is still in many ways grounded in tradition and precedent. Change resistance will occur and in my view, bringing empathy into these discussions and projects supports getting towards the end goals faster, while ensuring the relevant team feels positive about the experience.
- Don’t get overwhelmed. There is so much noise and hype, so much to learn, read, listen to, get better at. Don’t try and take all this in. Ask yourself – are you good with people, do you love what you do, do you respect your team and feel respected, can you see a forward path of growth? These are important, the hype and noise less so.