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Using LegalTech to Build Strong Online Communities – Chad Aboud – S6E9

If you’re not on social media these days, you’re living in the dark ages, aren’t you? Some say that the legal industry is a sector that still very much lives in the past and has a long way to go. Certainly from conversations we’ve had with previous guests, many people in the legal sector still shy away from using social media either from a professional or personal perspective. Well, not this week’s guest!

We’ve been chatting to Legal Industry Consultant, Chad Aboud. Chad is the Board Director for Community Music Schools of Toronto. He is previously a General Counsel at AudienceView and was responsible for leading the legal function for an international portfolio of tech companies. Prior to this, Chad was the Senior Corporate Counsel for Indigo and a Corporate & Securities Lawyer at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.

Chad has a keen eye for developing scalable LegalTech systems and tools to empower businesses. Alongside this, Chad is a very active Linkedin user and is often found using his platform to share tips on branding, business development, team building, and career fulfillment, making Chad a thought leader within the profession!

๐’๐จ, ๐ฐ๐ก๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐›๐ž ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ง๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ข๐ง?

You can catch our Rob Hanna and Chad talk about:

  • The roles and responsibilities of a Securities Lawyer and what this entails
  • How to be a successful junior lawyer and what makes a great one!
  • The difference between private practice and in-house within the sector
  • Why it’s important to build alignment with other teams
  • Marketing campaigns to boss your business
  • The significance of privacy and security in the current climate

Transcript

00:08 Rob Hanna:

Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. You are now listening to Season 6 of the show. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. This week, I’m delighted to be joined by the incredible Chad Aboud. Prior to this, Chad was the Senior Corporate Counsel for Indigo and a Corporate and Securities Lawyer at Cassels Brock Blackwell LLP. Chad is also a Board of Director Regent Park School of Music and a legal industry speaker and thought leader. So a very, very warm welcome, Chad.

00:42 Chad Aboud:

Thanks for having me, Rob. Looking forward to it.

00:45 Rob Hanna:

It’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. And before we dive into all your amazing experiences to date, we have our customary icebreaker question here on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real. What would you rate the hit TV series Suits in terms of its reality?

01:06 Chad Aboud:

Well, I have to at least give it a 6 and a half, because I’ve actually seen a lot of the production because I’m based in Toronto, and they filmed it in Toronto. And so when I was at Cassels Brock, where all the big bank and financial buildings are right in the corner is where they filmed that show. So when we’d be leaving, you know, in the middle of the night, from our workday, we’d see them all filming down on the on the streets and the main core of Toronto, so I know it’s at least that real.

01:27 Rob Hanna:

Oh, awesome. Well, I think you’re our first guest to have actually seen it in action of filming. So with that, and 6 and a half, we move swiftly on to talk all about you, my friend. And I’m super excited today. But to begin with Chad, would you mind telling our listeners a bit about your background and journey?

01:44 Chad Aboud:

Yeah, sure. So I grew up in the Toronto area. And you know, I’d like to Matlock a lot as a kid. And you know, it’s an Andy Griffith show where he would just solve the crimes, get everyone to admit it on the stand and for some reason, this was very exciting to me. I don’t know if it’s because he got a hot dog after every trial that he won. And so you know, like any kid who would communicate their ideas, and their parents saw that they like Matlock, they probably said to me, well, you should be a lawyer. And so that was kind of always in the back of my mind as a kid growing up. And I ended up doing my, my law school journey in Toronto, did a joint program with the business school there, because I just thought that that was kind of a cool connection of education and different styles of learning, and ended up being super helpful. And that journey took me to kind of one of the national law firms in Canada. So in Canada, we still have what we call an articling program. And so you have to kind of for 1 year, basically work under the supervision of lawyers before you can actually be a lawyer. So a lot of law students actually do become lawyers, at least in the beginning, because of that kind of required path. And so I did that and decided to pursue that journey for about 5 years. I was an associate at 1 of the big law firms in based out of Toronto, and was helping public companies do corporate M&A, and corporate finance. And that was cool. And, you know, you learned so many young professional skills, you know, the depth of knowledge, the impact of the work and the intensity and the timeframe. And, and so it was amazing, you know, it was an amazing learning experience and got so much out of that. And what I just found after that kind of first stage was, I wasn’t sure that, that was going to be my forever career journey. I sort of think to myself, how can I use these skills? And I’m a bit of a curious cat. And so I was always curious about like, alright, what are the other functions like in industry, because when you’re a law firm, it’s almost like a 1 function business in many ways, in terms of the types of people that you’re speaking with in a day. And so my, my life partner and I, we took a break from, from big law, and we travelled around the world for 6 months. And it was a bit of a personal and professional journey, see how other people live and what they value. And then when we came back, I wanted to go into industry. And so I went to, you know, 1 of Canada’s largest brands for home wares, and books called Indigo. And that was super cool, because it was the first time that now I was an extremely small function, just a few lawyers, but 1000s of employees, and they were all based in different types of functions, doing different things with different backgrounds, different role goals, different languages. And so I really had to learn about how to think through someone else’s eyes, not a lawyer’s eyes, or see suite eyes that used to transactions very different way of thinking, that was my first kind of like, intro into that way of thinking, and I loved it, to be honest, I learned so much. And I learned a lot about how marketing works. And you know, the digital team works, I just thought was great. And so I was there for about 3 and a half years. And then about 3 and a half years ago, I moved to AudienceView and AudienceView is a portfolio of technology companies, b to b, b to c, focused on the live events industry, and I got the opportunity to build a legal function there, which for me, I love it, it really speaks to like the stuff that really gets me going and building relationships, you know, educating, finding, you know, streamline processes, we implemented legal technology for automated contracting, which has been amazing for a scaling tech company. And so that’s been my journey over the last 3 and a half years, M&A integrating companies around the world. And so that’s been, you know, really wonderful journey as well. So that brings us to today.

04:52 Rob Hanna:

And what a journey and it’s so great listening to you there. 1 thing that I really liked about what you’re talking about is the openness to learning and the diversity of thought that you encouraged for your own learning from others. And you know, having that mindset is such a growth mindset of, you know, maybe I don’t know everything, maybe I can learn from so many other people and that that curiosity. And I think that’s a great piece of wisdom you just shared there. And I just want to sort of backtrack, because obviously, you studied business that, you know, a business school, and then you went and did a JD at your university. So why did you choose to study business as well as the law?

05:23 Chad Aboud:

Yeah, so the law school that I went to had a bunch of options for joint degrees that you could do, and so you could combine them at the time. And I actually didn’t know about that when I started the law school journey. And I was a little bit surprised when I started law school. So you know, I think pretty traditionally still, in most jurisdictions is 100% finals. So it’s very independent work. And I just wasn’t used to it. And it’s not my natural style to just be by myself. And I thought it was interesting that participation and engagement and learning throughout the semester actually wasn’t critical to doing well, in a course, it was the first time I experienced that, and I didn’t love it. And so I started hearing rumblings about different joint programs that you can do. So you had like an extra year to your program, but you could you could experience and bring another program in. And so 1 that I wanted to do was the MBA program at the same school. And the thing that I really liked about it, when I started learning was a lot of practical work, whether it’s case studies or things that have happened, or consulting to real life companies, and you do lots of work throughout the semester. And I think maybe for me, that’s just how I engage and how I learn. It’s very motivating to me to kind of like be forced to engage with material throughout and, you know, be evaluated on that. And so I think that that really tweaked my personal engagement. But also I said to myself, this has got to be the reality for lawyers too like, it can’t be that I become a lawyer, and I just sit by myself for 4 months produces 1 document, and then everyone says, whether it’s good or bad. And so I said, well, this is also practically valuable to me, too.

06:50 Rob Hanna:

Yeah. And I love how, again, your mindset in terms of how you’re always acquiring skills and thinking about things in such a commercial mind as well ahead of your years at the time, no doubt. So and so after your studies, then, as you referenced, you joined the top firm, where you’re a Corporate and Securities Lawyer, what did you role it involve, as a Securities Lawyer give us a bit more of a context around that?

07:12 Chad Aboud:

Sure. So public companies or companies that want to become public, they’re going to do 1 of 2 things, they’re either doing some sort of financing to raise money, so that they can go public, or they’re already public, and they want to do financing for another project, or they’re buying and selling themselves, or their assets or someone else’s assets. And so it was acquisitions, or raising money for public companies or companies that wanted to go public. And so that was, and so you know, you have lots of companies that are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange cross listed, in the US, Australia, the UK, and so, you know, there was a good international experience, but it also was quite focused on that type of company, public companies, you know, are in a very different mode than private companies are. And so, so it is a kind of a specific type of leadership structure, they’re, they’re very transactional, they’re used to this kind of thing. They’re used to the regulatory regime. And so it was a very specific type of company set that you’re dealing with, as compared to, you know, private companies, PE backed companies that are operating, you know, outside of a lot of the heavy regulatory environment. So very different, different mindset. But um, but yeah, that was most of that was most of the time, it was very transactional, heavy work.

08:16 Rob Hanna:

Yeah. And it’s pretty interesting that you gave err such depth of what you were getting up to probably quite early on within your your lawyering career as well. Obviously, you did, well there. You also were training junior lawyers. So you know, what advice would you give to law students interested in terms of getting into the area of law? What would be your top tips?

08:35 Chad Aboud:

So I think I always try to think about 2 things. I try to think about being reflective and so reflective, substantively and stylistically. So when I would interview students or train students, I would always think to them when they were debating, oh, do I, which law firm do I apply to, and which 1 do I accept an internship from? I would always say, like, what is the environment that you feel like you naturally have succeeded in before and there’s no value judgment, like, it doesn’t matter. And, you know, mine was kind of a medium-ish size environment, because I liked the autonomy, but I also liked the growth opportunity. So you know, there’s no value prop on where on the spectrum. But I think what matters is what energy do you feed off of well? Do you like a gradual learning program? Do you like go into the deep straight away program? Do you like, you know, deals that you can read about in the newspaper? Do you like stuff that you get a lot of grip on whether or not anybody else knows? I think that if you look to your previous school environments, your extracurricular environments, what type of people were around you that you got good energy from and what didn’t you like? And I think that the more you reflective stylistically about that, then it really helps you ask the right questions about where you should take your career. And then substantively, I think, you know, if you have a burning passion about a certain industry, then obviously you can use that to inform you but so I would really tell people like be very reflective about when you’ve been successful before with good energy, not just you made it through the hoops, because there’s something there. There’s a thread in life, where your energy you should follow it if you can.

09:59 Rob Hanna:

Such good sharing because you know the environment that you’re in, and that you are the sum of the people that you surround yourself by and that energy is infectious. And you also talked about the importance of questions and that’s so important in industry. And I read, 1 of my lawyer friends in the UK did a post recently about saying, you don’t hire lawyers to answer questions, you hire lawyers to ask the right questions to get the right answers to what you need to know. And that is wisdom folks, because you can Google anything and get an answer. But it’s understanding from the expert, what you should be asking to ensure that you have the right legal services and protection in place, whatever you’re trying to do. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about sort of making sure you’re asking the right questions and being in the right environment. So I love that. And so you obviously had a great time in private practice. But then you moved from private practice to in-house to Indigo, as you mentioned, as a Corporate Counsel, so how and when did you decide to make that switch from private practice to in-house and talk us through that journey?

10:55 Chad Aboud:

Yeah, so I think it was a couple of things. 1, is this, like curiosity in me to be like, you know, could we do it differently? Is there kind of a, can we take out this heavier admin part of the process that maybe I don’t think is providing the same value prop that I would like if I was on the receiving end of these legal services, and, you know, this was, you know, getting close to 15 years ago, there just wasn’t really a lot of space to for a younger lawyer to be kind of changing the processes of transactions. And so that kind of put a question mark, in my mind, I think also, too, I felt a little bit and maybe this is just my nature, but I felt a bit tertiary to like what was going on, like, I wasn’t the company, deciding what assets to buy, or what strategic moves to make. I wasn’t even the investment bankers, that were helping to finance the deal. We were the lawyers. And listen, there’s a lot of great stuff about being a public company lawyer, there’s a lot of legal strategy that goes into it. I just think my nature doesn’t get as obsessed about that part, I’m a bit more of a curious guy, question asker, find a more efficient way to do it, and so when I thought about my own value, prop and the value prop that I was meant to provide, I wasn’t sure I saw an alignment for the length of my career, the way that I saw it, and others that had done a full, very passionate career in that space. And so that brought a question to me. And so I started saying to myself, I’m having these questions, what are maybe some of the answers to them? And I felt like some of the answers said, like, go a bit closer to the thing that you’re most curious about. That’s why I wanted to learn about the operations of an industry because other people don’t care as much. But for me, I actually thought it was pretty cool. And I wanted to understand like the marketing campaign, if it’s original 1 or a national, like how are you going to parlay it across Canada? It’s a big country, like, how do you do it differently? Like, to me, that’s such as interesting. And so I kept saying to myself, well, if that’s curious and interesting to you, you should get closer to it. And that was what made me say, like, okay, this has been an amazing journey, nothing bad about it, I’m not just going to try to parlay this learning and skills, and take it somewhere where I think my energy is more connected.

12:47 Rob Hanna:

I love that. And I love how you talk so much about energy, because energy is everything, right? You know, people say to me, you know, what’s money, I sometimes describe that as energy, right? Lots of things in life is all energy. And the more positive kind of forward-thinking you have in your network, folks, honestly, take it from Chad, the more successful, the more happier, the more happier you will be. So Chad, obviously, you know, you’ve had tons of interviews, you know, you’ve got a really prominent brand. But in your interview with Counselwell, you outline โ€œthe most important skills for an in-house lawyer, all the interpersonal skills to know how to build alignment with other teamsโ€. So elaborate a bit more on what you mean by that.

13:26 Chad Aboud:

So I think if you’re in industry as a lawyer, who’s kind of like 2 different buckets. 2 is you’re like in a heavily regulated industry, like financial industry, financial services. And in that case, it’s a bit more like being a public company, which many of them also are is that when there’s a lot of regulation, the legal team has this natural place, a natural gatekeeper, and natural intake because required, and the regulation is heavy. And so you know, that wasn’t where I wanted to take my journey. But I understand that and I understand how lawyers can almost be in that spot. And the business has to flow through them as a requirement. My natural energy took me to other places where, you know, wasn’t as heavily regulated. But what that also means is, the legal team isn’t this requirement. In for many business people, they see it as very optional. And when you’re optional, the only way you can become more engaged, from my perspective, is through bonds of relationships. Well, how do you bond with people, while my way is to like, be positive, be curious about them, so that you can get into their eyes. Because many business folks, especially in lighter regulated industries, do not, haven’t had that much experience with legal. They might not care. They don’t feel like they need to use it. And that’s just a reality. And so I don’t I just operate in realities. And so when I recognise that reality, I said, well, I want to add value. How do I add value? I need these folks to want to work with me. Well, how do I get them to want to work with me? I’ve got a former relationship with them. Even outside of the legal piece. Just sitting in on the marketing team things, being pumped about some of the stuff that they’re doing, seeing it you know, because it was a big brand new, we had stores and a big digital footprint, like seeing how that stuff came to life, celebrating them, learning their journey. And I think as you do that people are like, alright, this legal guy is okay. I can talk to this guy. And then when I think what happens is you like you continually decentralise information in a very digestible way. And when you do that people say, it’s not that scary. It’s not that bad. It’s not that annoying. And I can actually see how this little bit of extra thinking on this lens helps me later, achieve my goals, be protected from downside, all that stuff. And that’s when you start forming this bond where you change chasing to business teams wanting to come to you.

15:37 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, because you’ve built the trust. And I think through you know, a lot of the law can sometimes be complex, but like you say, if you can sort of break that down, simplify and communicate, then suddenly you become you know, that thought leader, that trusted adviser that that beacon that people like, I need to go and chat about this, because it looks really complicated but I know in 10 minutes, you’ll be able to sort of dissect it and tell me what’s important, what’s not important, what I need to know. And again, that’s all part of what we’re trying to share here in terms of really understanding how you can really formulate a successful career and which most definitely you have, and definitely continuing to do, because also, whilst you’re at Indigo, you’re also a Senior Corporate Counsel, so obviously, you’ve progressed. Can you explain more about the type of work you did there?

16:19 Chad Aboud:

Yeah so, this was 1 of the biggest, you know, phases of learning in my career, because it was a very different way of learning. It wasn’t, you know, when I went into private practice, it was this specific area of law depth now, now, instead, it was, you know, 15 different functions in all the areas of law that touched those functions, everything from supply chain, to marketing, to digital to privacy, to construction, like building stores, like all this stuff, and you have to become moderately competent on all of it. Because you have to support the business in a day to day but the style of support is very different. It’s very like, alright, what are the business goals? What are the business pains? What is kind of the MVP kind of legal support that we need, because you don’t want to slow things down unnecessarily. You want to give people a little bit of an advantage and doing things slightly better. But you have to understand you’re just 1 slice. The business is big, there are a lot of slices in that business, and especially in a heavy brand entity like Indigo is, the consumer feel, the employee engagement, these dominate the way that that business has been successful. The law, you’ve got to layer it underneath there in a way that doesn’t create friction to those businesses. And so you really have to learn all of the functions for what they are and what they do. But I thought it was so cool, because you manage a big intellectual property portfolio, you learn construction law, and managing, you know, like GCs and other sub trades and build stores and you learn privacy law. And I just thought that that was really cool to have that breadth of experience. But I think it’s just because that’s what my brain gravitates to, is like optionality and different and learning and what’s next, and how can we get the most value in the quickest and most painless amount of time. That’s just what I naturally love.

17:54 Rob Hanna:

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19:43 Chad Aboud:

Yeah. So you know, as I was moving through my time at Indigo, the next thing that I realised was, wow, I’ve gained all this breadth of experience and learning industry. Well, what’s next? You know, like, where’s my energy going next, and I realised that the next thing for me is, I wanted to build something that was mine. I wanted to build a function and you know take all the learning that I got from the amazing lawyers at Indigo about how to do that in industry and do it with my own flavour. And so you know, maybe this is 3 and a half years ago. So at that time, there was kind of 2 industries that were really going crazy. 1 in Canada, cannabis had just become legalised. And so tons of cannabis companies getting money. So had a lot of those conversations, very nascent industry, it was very cool. I don’t think it was the right time and phase for me. So you know, like that kind of met with a bunch of those companies, didn’t happen to make sense for everyone. So the other industry, though, that did feel like it made more sense for me was tech. Because at Indigo, we were going through like a digital revolution. And we were buying tons of technology to support not only you know, our sites, but also how we conducted business more efficiently internally. And so I’m buying a lot of tech, and I was like, wow, this is pretty cool. And I get how folks think and so, and tech industry has received a ton of funding. And that private equity company, like all good ones, said okay, how do we now start consolidating a position in the industry through acquisition, to make this stronger, bigger, better, more diversified. So when I joined, it was kind of 3 things, it was understand 100 years of aggregate history of all of these companies, support the day to day business, but build it for scale in the future. And so it was a big lift in those early days, because you got to build the relationships, you got to build and style function and learn everyone and learn the industry. But to be honest I loved it, you know, and we built out a full function, have now a junior lawyer, have a legal ops person, implemented legal tech and that part of the journey of building that function and scale has been, you know, 1 of the best of my career.

21:45 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and I want to stick with legal tech because I know it’s something you’re super passionate about super knowledgeable about. And as you were alluding to there, you’ve been developing scalable legal tech systems and tools to empower business. But what does legal tech mean to you? And what does a good piece of legal tech look like to you?

22:00 Chad Aboud:

Yeah, I mean, so I think that that’s actually the right question of the day for lawyers, you know, because I get it, you know, like lawyers, number 1 are busy and 2 managing a lot of not just, you know, technical work, but administrative work in many ways, which makes it a busy and frustrating. So it’s very hard, because we didn’t, we weren’t forced to learn about technology as an assist to us in law school. And so it’s even hard to find the time to wrap our brains on how we’re going to do it. And so what it means to me is, like a crawl, walk, run. And so when I was at Indigo, that was the first time I got, you know, an intro into like SharePoint, and building templates that can live in a SharePoint, and how you can lock those Word templates and decentralise them. And, you know, like, that was my first entree into legal tech. And then we brought in like a nascent CLM system that allowed us to have like a repository that at a bare minimum, gave you term start and end dates, and a reminder system. And so you know, I thought all that was pretty cool. I was like, I can see how this is reducing stress on the lawyers, reducing time, but more importantly, creating a legal team that feels more like a business team, because you’re using technology that they use, and you’re using dashboards and access that they have access to. So you’re removing this black box thing, that people think about what the legal team because they can see it real real time and they can access this and I said to myself, well, if I can create templates, especially like lock templates, with only optional fields to complete, you can decentralise and push it out and the business teams love it. So that was my first entree into it. We were buying a lot of you know, mid-market companies and operating the volume, but when I showed up it’s still had the 15 page Word document SaaS agreement, fill in the yellow fields, legals the gatekeeper because it was a historically enterprise business only. I said, no way man, we got to build an order form portal straightaway, because there’s no way to negotiate with 1000s of clients all the time, if legals a gatekeeper and populating Word documents. And so for us what legal tech has meant over the last few years, is automated contracting. And so we have a piece of legal tech that implements with our CRM system, our CRM system is our source of truth, it is the requirement for all the business teams. But that makes sense, because that’s where they should be living anyway. And so then they use that with commercial options for for deal types and sizes. And then with clicks of buttons, after they’ve completed their commercial information, which they know they’re meant to do anyway, it will generate through our legal tech, a 1-page document with links out to online legal terms and online description of our product, that can then be e-signed and then saved back into that sale that salesforce account. And so for me, it’s like for as a lawyer, you’re not touching anything that’s staying vanilla. And I think that’s the magic. That’s what the business teams want anyway. So that’s the journey that it’s been for us.

24:34 Rob Hanna:

I love that. And it’s an incredible journey. And I know you do so much with legal tech, and we could talk for that for hours. But I do want to talk about digital, but social media, and also how you’re utilising it because 1 platform that we got connected with and everyone’s bored of me saying on the show, but I’m a massive fan of LinkedIn and think it’s got so much huge potential but clearly you are using LinkedIn and leveraging it to the max, to build a phenomenal personal brand. So why are you a fan of LinkedIn? And what tips and tricks would you give to people to start encouraging them to build a brand?

25:07 Chad Aboud:

That’s kind. So here my journey on LinkedIn was, I didn’t use it for about a decade, like I just really didn’t like it. And I just thought it was an uninteresting space. And then about a year ago, obviously, we’re going through covid, and my my company’s tech support the live events industry, massively impacted by this by this pandemic. And so it was a challenging time. And I had all these thoughts and many of which, you know, we’ve talked about about efficiencies in the industry or humanity in the industry, both of which I think we can take as much more as people are ready to put into it. And I have had a ton of like, local 1 to 1 discussions throughout my career, but like, so much low hanging fruit on the relationship side, or on the efficiency side, and I always struggled to get a lot of real traction. And then, you know, for some reason, in April 2021, I just said to myself, I’m taking all the intermediaries, I’m just going to the market with these ideas, as much as I had to get them out of my own mind, stop frustrating myself, I had no plan for LinkedIn, I had no goal, I had no outcome. And maybe it was the first time in my life, I had done anything without a goal or an outcome. That was also liberating, because it gives you the freedom to do things in the way you want to do it. And so you know, my first 8 months, like many people who started LinkedIn journey very sporadic, like I bet you if I look back now, I’d probably cringe and a lot of those posts, very substantive about like how law firms and clients can work together and like, you know, but every 2 or 3 weeks, I post something, and what I got was some minimal amount of support, where people are like, yeah, I agree. And that gave me this energy and fulfilment that I’ve been looking for for a long time. And so as I was going along, and 2021 is New Year’s Eve, and I was out for a run, and we were at this smaller town on little mini vacay snowstorm as it does, and these people waved at me as I was running by in the snowstorm. And I felt nice, I waved back. And then so for the rest of the run, I was like waving at everyone and everyone’s waving back and was really nice. And in another snowstorm I peeled off behind this tree. And I like tapped out this note to myself, that was like, the value of like 3 quick nice human things. You can’t even count the value of it because it creates an energy in people. And then I thought to myself, for the first time ever, I was like, I’m just going to post in the app right now about this thing. I’d never done that, it always been so structured and planned out. And I was just basically talking about the overlap of how that sort of friendliness parlays professionally to and the value it creates, and that was the beginning of what’s been this kind of last 7 months of like, more regular, more personal, more consistent posts about the personal and professional overlap, rather than it being as substantive as it probably was before that. And that’s kind of been like the real take off of my journey since then.

27:37 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and what an incredible journey. And there’s so many, again, nuggets that I want to pick out from that, particularly, as you mentioned, you had all these thoughts. And 1 of my mentors said to me, a great expression, I want to empty my head for I am dead. And I think it’s so great. You know, you think of that there’s so much wisdom that they want to share and you’re sharing and educating people. And then we’ve also had people like Shay Rowbottom on the show who’s 1 of the top lead LinkedIn influencers on the platform, think well over a million followers and she encourages shooting on the fly, which you talk about there, you know, you’ve got a thought, you’ve got a moment, that’s authenticity, share it, get it out, or you know, make a note and then come back to it. But make sure it’s it’s that authentic voice that’s coming in that you’re not sort of closing off what you think just because maybe I’m a lawyer, I can’t show that humane person, because that’s what people are craving right now. And they want that human-to-human interaction. I talk about that a lot. It’s not b to b and b to c, it’s human to human, whatever you look at. And the more you can increase that human to human connection, the more people are going to trust, like, know you, and eventually more good opportunities and things are going to happen for your career. So it’s brilliant. And I love that you talked about that. And I would strongly encourage people to check out your content and what you’re getting up to on LinkedIn, because you’ve got an incredible voice. And that leads to why you are a legal industry thought leader and speaker. And as I say, you are active on the platform. And in a recent post, you discuss the right day time to post and you’ve stopped worrying about that, because posting in the moment brings you good energy. So how do you come up with such great content to post Chad because that’s another thing that people may struggle with? You alluded to it briefly, but give us a bit more?

29:08 Chad Aboud:

Yeah, you know there’s a lot of advice on LinkedIn, which, you know, like, you got to figure out what advice works for you, if you’re looking for it. I think what I found I was saying this before about, I stopped worrying about the outputs. And that really became the magic for me. Because if you’re not trying to position something towards a specific outcome, 2 things happen. 1 is you’re more liberated to say whatever you want. And 2 is there’s actually more opportunities that we’ll come to you, because if you focus what you’re doing so much on this 1 specific outcome, you’re actually limiting in many ways, a lot of the ideas that you might share and you never know the humans out there that are looking for what you have. And so, you know, that was kind of my mentality about why I don’t worry or care about when I post because I do feel like the most important thing is that, when I’m sharing something that really matters to me, it gets the right traction with the right people. And what I mean by that is, it might help someone. That’s the part that matters the most to me, is that helps somebody you know, because for me, that’s that’s the point is raising more people and lifting more people, you know, you’re 1 of the leading voices on here that does that is just raising attention and raising kind of other people to let them see the most in themselves, because there is so much more in everyone than we think. And so that’s kind of where my mind has gone. And then, you know, when I think about, like, what do I want to write about? I find, for me, pretty much all of my ideas come on the weekend, running in the woods, listening to a podcast, and you know, because it allows my brain to just like, relax from all of the work that I’m doing. And just think about, like, how is nature and normal life and work life and all these ideas about like human connection, how is all that settling in my brain. And so what I do is, I put on a podcast where there’s something like Jay Shetty, or, you know, like Adam Grant, or just people talking about human interaction, and I run, and then I just start thinking, and these ideas all start coming, and I want to get to half, I start like writing all these ideas down, and then on the way back the same thing, and then I’ll write all these ideas down, and then I’ll get like, 5 or 6 ideas just from that are things that I already knew, and already thought about, but I needed like nature and discussion around human connection to like, help bring those to the surface.

31:11 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, it’s pretty, it’s like a positive prompt, isn’t it? It’s come back to the energy, you know, you get yourself out into that environment, you know it, but this brings out the best in you. And yeah, every kind of positive action, you know, will lead to a positive reaction as well. And you obviously get that with a lot of your engagement from people and just helping, you know, not being too bogged down in the metrics of okay, well, this you are, if you’re helping 1 or 2 people in that message, like keep doing what you’re doing, but I just encourage people to start, because there will be a community you’re part of, and people say, yeah, I don’t know, you know, you are exciting. Everyone has a brand. Everyone has a story. There’s something in there and like you are very kindly saying to others, do it, you know, do it, do it, encourage people and people will support you and get behind you. So aside from all of that Chad, before we look to wrap up, you are also as I mentioned at the intro Board of Director for Regent School of Music, so do you play a musical instrument yourself or teach music? And what is your favourite type of music?

32:06 Chad Aboud:

Yeah, so so the Regent Park School of Music, and we’ve just very, very recently rebranded it to the Community Music Schools of Toronto, because we’re expanding the locations where the schools are located. So Regent Park is, is a very specific neighbourhood within Toronto, but since we’re building schools and other neighbourhoods, we actually raise the brand of it, which is wonderful. And so what it does is it provides, you know, extremely low cost wonderful musical education to kids who otherwise may not receive it. And so it’s a beautiful thing. And you know, I got engaged with it from someone else that I knew that was on the board, and I went to 1 of the recitals and the graduations. And so it’s for kids, and they can start quite young and it kind of goes through high school. And I remember the sisters went up there, and they basically said, like, hey, if I didn’t have this on Wednesdays, I don’t know where I’d be. And I looked to my peers, and I know where they are and that’s not where I want to be. And they kind of were making this link about really telling you, about how important guidance, support, attention. You know, music happens to be the thing that the school is born out of. But really what it is, is it’s giving a support and guidance system to help younger people get more support for their next phase of their life journey. And to me, that’s a beautiful thing. And so, you know, like, I am not musically talented, although I do love music, and almost all genres, and I’m always singing poorly. But for me, it’s really about the same concepts about LinkedIn is like, lifting others lifts me, it’s what I think I, you know, my kind of energy tells me and I mentioned, like my life mantra tells me to do, which is like, help others find more in themselves. And if by some small way of being on the board and helping push through, you know, some of these kinds of strategic things that the school is trying to do helps these kids get an amazing place on Wednesday and brings more of them into the program, that’s amazing, you know, and that’s just really meaningful to me. And I think that for all of us, who never would have had that experience of thinking, wow, you know, this is the thing that really saved me, if you don’t know that experience, which I didn’t know it, then I just feel like, you know, there is an obligation on me to give back what I can.

34:02 Rob Hanna:

And you absolutely do. And it’s a well-used quote that you and I both know, but it’s so true, you know, a rising tide will lift all boats. And I think that’s so important, you know, and the work that you’re doing is so gracious, I think not only are you working on yourself, but you’re always thinking of others and how you can give back and I am quietly confident, or shall I say very confident that people are going to be inspired by today’s episode. So finally, Chad, what advice would you give to lawyers or those in the legal profession, who may want to make that move to be a General Counsel or get to the sort of top of the top of the tree?

34:36 Chad Aboud:

Yeah, I mean, I think if I think if it matters to you, I, you know, I wouldn’t just do it because you’re like, well, I’m in the legal industry, so the top of the thing is either to be the head of a regulator, a partner or a General Counsel, like, I feel like unless there’s some sort of other purpose for that goal. I feel like you’ll always be a little bit unfulfilled. So my first advice would be like, don’t worry about the title simply because you went to law school. Think of law school is like a critical thinking degree. You can deploy that in so many ways. And if you Google, like people who have parlayed their career or all of the legal industry, other participation roles, like whether it’s technology, or recruiting or coaching, or whatever it is, there’s so many spaces that lawyers can fit in. So I would say my number 1 thing would be figure out what it is your natural talents are, and where can they be best used. So that would be step 1. If you decide that it is, you know, you want to be in industry, and you want to be a General Counsel, I would say, you know, if it’s a space that someone like mine, like not, it’s super intensely regulated, it’s curiosity and humility, you know, you are going to be a small function in a bigger function. 1 slice of a much larger thing. The law is not the be all and end all of everything. There’s so many other inputs. And so I think the more that you embrace that, and get excited about that, and want to learn about that, and lift other people and support that there’s always going to be risk. I don’t think of my job as a risk eliminator, I think of my job is like, okay, well, what’s your goal? What are you feeling pain from? How can we make your life easier and help you get to your goals quicker? And then once I understand that game, then I try to underlay, removing some levels of risk that makes sense for like the company’s agent stage. And I just make sure that everyone’s always aware like, this is the agent stage of where we’re at. Now. There’s always going to be this level of risk, always. So if you take yourself away from that role, and think of yourself as like a lifter of the business, you’re going to be much more likely to create the bonds and that’s where you really start to have influence.

36:25 Rob Hanna:

What a fantastic answer. And I love that you talked about risk, because I talk about this all the time on the show as well about risk. And 1 of my mentors, again, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything. And I’m a big believer in that. And wow, what a what a show, Chad. So if our listeners, which I’m very sure they will, would like to learn more about maybe being coming a General Counsel or Corporate Securities Lawyer, maybe a Senior Corporate Counsel or legal tech guru, increasing their personal brand, or learning how to get into sort of legal community building, what’s the best way that they can contact you, feel free to shout out any of your social media handles and web links, and we’ll also share them with this episode for you too.

37:05 Chad Aboud:

Yeah, for sure. So I mean, you’re welcome to link, go to LinkedIn and find me there. I mean, that’s my kind of platform of choice is just where I spend my energy and my time, so you know, that’s where I’m at, you’re always welcome to reach out. And, you know, what I would also say, too, is that like, the wait, whatever you think you want in life, give that first. And so if you want to learn about whatever it is, you want to learn, you want to get somewhere, like follow someone like Rob, follow the other good folks out there that are like trying to provide information into the industry. And step 1, follow them and learn. 2, start supporting. 3, then start engaging with it. I actually think that’s the faster route to getting what you want, because the more you give, and the more you lift other people, the more people will realise that and they’ll want to help you. So instead of being this cold calling game of like, hey Rob, like, can you imagine how many DMs Rob gets, like, I don’t even know what your DMs look like, it must be insane. You know, but the way that I think about and the way that Rob and I formed, our relationship was more about like, supporting each other. And like, you know, Rob has a massive platform much bigger than mine. And, you know, I just really appreciated what he was doing and I would let him know. And you know, like, over time, if people see that you are consistently trying to like recognise their effort, they will want to help you for their own reasons. And that at the end of the day is the fastest route to getting whatever you want. Give first, whatever you think you want.

38:21 Rob Hanna:

And what a great lesson there because that’s that’s 100% True story, Chad, you know, you had been a huge supporter of mine. And it was with absolute pleasure that we said, we need to get this guy on the show. He’s got too much wisdom, he’s just got too much going on that it’d be unfair of us not to get him on the show and to share his wisdom and boy, have you lived up to that. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show today. So I along with all the team on the Legally Speaking Podcast would wish you continued success for the rest of your journey. But now from all of us on the show, over and out. Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you liked the content here, why not check out our world leading content and collaboration hub the Legally Speaking Club over on Discord goes to our website www dot Legally Speaking Podcast dot com for the link to join our community there. Over and out.

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