Laura, a corporate lawyer by background, heads up the legal and compliance team at MoneyHero Group (NASDAQ: MNY), a market leader in the online personal finance aggregation and comparison sector in Greater Southeast Asia.
She advises MoneyHero Group on a wide range of legal and business issues, such as product launches, partnership arrangements and strategic transactions across the Group’s operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia with respective local market brands. Most notably, Laura led her team in supporting MoneyHero Group through its business combination with Bridgetown Holdings Limited (NASDAQ: BTWN), a special purpose acquisition company formed as a collaboration between Pacific Century Group and Thiel Capital which saw MoneyHero Group commencing trading under the ticker symbol “MNY” on 13 October 2023.
Prior to joining MoneyHero Group, Laura worked in private practice at the international law firm, Maples and Calder, in Dublin, Ireland, where she was a senior associate in the firm’s Corporate Group, specialising in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, venture capital, securities and corporate governance matters.
Laura earned her bachelor’s degree and post-graduate degree from the National University of Galway, Ireland. She qualified as a lawyer in Ireland in 2013.
Laura currently resides in Hong Kong, where she enjoys hiking and spending time with friends and family.
1. Hi Laura, can you tell us a little about your role and journey into law? What excites you outside of work?
I am General Counsel of MoneyHero Group, a personal finance aggregation and comparison platform with operations across Greater Southeast Asia. I head up the Legal and Compliance function of MoneyHero, which recently listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker MNY. My team and I provide guidance on everything from licensing and regulatory matters, contracts and litigation to corporate governance and securities laws.
I’ve lived in Hong Kong for over four years now, but I grew up in Ireland and my journey into law was originally perhaps not a very mindful one. I studied English and Law in the National University of Galway, on the West coast of the island. I had creative notions as a young student and enjoyed the outlet of my English course which provided for that and tacked the Law degree on the side. The global credit crisis coincided with my last year or two in university and certainly impacted my decision to pursue what I perceived to be a more stable choice of a career in law. Fast forward a few years, and I was working in an international law firm in Dublin as a corporate lawyer advising tech companies through the early stage to exit lifecycle. I enjoyed popping the hood on various businesses and hearing about new disruptive ideas from founders, while helping them navigate the legal pitfalls. I loved the entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to be involved earlier and later than the typical scope of engagement of the external counsel. A friend told me about an opportunity that had arisen within a scrappy FinTech with a regional footprint across Southeast Asia and I hopped on a flight to Hong Kong without a second thought.
Outside of work, I am happiest when exploring new destinations and cultures, eating delicious food, listening to good music in company of friends and family. Ideally all at once.
2. What do you think about the use of LegalTech, data analytics and process optimisation to improve your legal department’s value?
I am so excited about all the opportunities that are available to legal professionals in recent times! I think LegalTech and the various tools that can be harnessed to optimise legal work and the operation of the legal function are of particular value to in-house teams, who are constantly fighting for budget and to validate their existence!
My team relies on a variety of tech tools that make us more efficient – we’ve been using legal intake tools and e-signature platforms for years to enhance our processes, while tools like Slack have enabled us to standardise asynchronous practices. I am actively exploring generative AI tools and the right CLM tool is on the wish list – but for me it is very important to find the right fit when it comes to integrating technology. Internal buy in and change management are no easy feat and so it takes time to find the right partner for your needs. Data can help you understand your problems first before you embark on the path of fixing those issues with tech or process optimisation. We are a data driven company and my team needs to analyse and react to data outputs like any other business unit in MoneyHero.
3. What trends do you expect to see in the legal services industry in the next 5 years?
Well, AI has been the hot topic for 2023 and I expect that trend to continue into 2024. It is becoming more apparent that AI has the potential to transform the legal industry – it can produce documents, content, help review, negotiate, and analyse contracts as well as speed up legal research. It may be a contributor to the ultimate demise of the billable hour! The law firms and in-house teams that are embracing it early will have a clear advantage to those that delay out of fear or reticence (or both). Change is inevitable – I’ll always be grateful for the innovations in legal technology that allowed us to step outside of the physical due diligence room piled high with paper…
With that, I do think that the way lawyers and legal professionals are trained will naturally need to evolve also. The practice of lawyers cutting their teeth by spending countless hours doing citation checks or basic document reviews when their reality will be that technology is harnessed to do legal grunt work in a matter of minutes. The old training model is not only economically untenable but (in my view) it wasn’t the smartest way to nurture smart lawyers in the first place. I’m looking forward to hearing how legal training programs will evolve alongside legal technology adoption also.
4. Where do you see NewLaw/ALSP fitting in the matrix of your legal department?
I regularly use ALSPs to engage legal consultants to bolster my team. Whether it is to get access to a particular specialist/skillset or simply to supplement and support the internal legal team, using an ALSP to source the talent for me and provide it in a flexible way has become a fundamental pillar of my resourcing strategy.
5. Your favourite tune? And why?
Picking one song is too difficult! Anything by Bruce Springsteen, as a bunch of his songs are tied to happy moments in my life.
KorumLegal is a boutique legal consultancy committed to providing value innovation in legal service delivery. The legal services industry is continuing to change with ‘NewLaw’ – and clients are seeking more innovative and cost-effective solutions without compromise on experience and quality