Pier Luigi Lucatuorto joined the industrial automation powerhouse Modula as their first in-house General Counsel. From his first day, Lucatuorto sought to disprove the perception that lawyers aren’t technical people, and in the process shifted that viewpoint from problematic observer to proactive problem-solver and business enabler.
At Modula, Lucatuorto was inspired to match the innovative approach taken by other departments within the company. He wanted to be seen as a key function within the business as opposed to merely a risk mitigator, and he was able to achieve this by implementing an innovative approach, promoting teamwork, mutual support, and knowledge exchanges with other departments. These innovations gave him a greater understanding of the company overall, from its culture to commercial process and goals.
This approach is particularly important given that innovative companies, industrial automation tech in Lucatuorto’s case, provide a constant stream of novel and unforeseen problems to their General Counsel and quite often in areas in which there isn’t any developed law. Or, according to Lucatuorto, these issues “force a General Counsel to think outside the box or even without any box”.
Because of this, Lucatuorto believes an in-house legal professional should adopt an approach similar to non-legal professionals. Moving away from a strict ‘just-apply-the-law’ mindset has enabled him to face the challenges of an industrial automation company in an agile and innovative manner.
At the core of Lucatuorto’s approach is the belief that creativity is the best value-add an in-house General Counsel can have. His creativity comes in the form of the solutions he provides, going so far as to completely reframing the role of GC. Lucatuorto is continually looking to fuel his creativity and draws inspiration through consultation with other colleagues, and ensuring he takes a proactive part at meetings where business development, intellectual property, and R&D strategies are discussed and reviewed.
It was this thinking that made Lucatuorto realize that as a General Counsel he needed to face challenges and drive his team with a holistic view of the business. In other words, reframing the role of GC from an administrator who oversees legal staff to an agile and open-minded leader whose mission is to shift the legal team’s function in terms of culture and mindset to be an integral part of the business.
The benefits of this approach have been immense, resulting in increased recognition and understanding of his role by his colleagues who don’t have a legal background. This has further enabled Lucatuorto to provide outside-the-box solutions that better suit the business processes and context at Modula. All of which increases buy-in from key stakeholders and enables him to continue to innovate and match the constant rate of evolution of a disruptive tech company.
Lucatuorto’s final piece of the puzzle is utilizing legal tech to augment his processes. Greater efficiency helps to improve operations, increase productivity, and allows for less time to be spent on lower-value tasks. The result of implementing high-quality legal tech solutions is more time for creativity and innovation. “With less time spent in research, verification and repetitive activities, General Counsels are able to deliver fast decisions and to concentrate on the real added value of a legal department,” he says.
Lucatuorto’s story is a good illustration of the opportunities for in-house legal professionals to move into positions of thought leadership. There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained and value to be added from matching the rate of development and innovation in other departments. Much can be gained from following his example and thinking outside or maybe without the box.