We asked Legal Value Network member Pier D'Angelo, Chief Strategy Officer at Allens, to tell us more about his career path and what he loves most about what he does. Connect with Pier on LinkedIn.
Tell us how you got into your field.
It was a two-step process.
When the global credit crisis/crunch hit back in 2007-08, I was the Head of BD at Allens. The crunch caused a real change in client buying behaviour which persisted after the economy recovered. Much greater use of procurement, a real escalation in requests for discount and value adds, and a quest for greater efficiency – we all know the drill. As Head of BD, I found myself increasingly being drawn into, and able to add value by helping our people navigate pricing issues. I was really fortunate to find that I really liked the work, as it drew on all of my educational and work experience to that point. For the first time since University, I was using knowledge learned in my B.Comm as well as my B.Law, and the work gave me the opportunity to apply my knowledge of our value proposition and competitors in new ways that really added value. Within a few years, I became one of the first Heads of Pricing and then Chief Pricing Officers globally – similar timing to my venerable peers Toby Brown and Stuart Dodds.
As the CPO, my knowledge of the business deepened, and over time I found myself being asked to lead a broad variety of cross-functional projects in addition to my day job. This coincided with a period of really dynamic change in the market, which created lots of interesting projects to work on. Over time, my role morphed into my current Chief Strategy Officer role, and seats on our firm's Executive, Operating and Innovation committees. I've been really fortunate in the diversity of work I've had the opportunity to do.
What do you love most about what you do?
There are lots of things, but a key one is helping people make tough decisions, whether they are pricing decisions or broader strategic choices. Among other things, this involves bringing the most relevant information to the table, engaging the right stakeholders and framing up discussions so that they are constructive and get to the nub of the issue as efficiently as possible. It also means shaping the discussion so that the decision is owned by those making it. I really get a buzz out of this when it all comes together.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing legal service professionals today?
I think focus is a key challenge. Ensuring that you've worked through all the complexity in the environment around you, engaged with key stakeholders to shape priorities, and then focus your scarce resources on those things that are going to make the most difference. It is a constant challenge in the legal business – it is very easy to get very, very busy but find yourself just treading water or worse. Having a relentless focus is key to getting things done.
What do you value most in being part of LVN?
For me, it has been about people and knowledge. I've really enjoyed meeting people from all over the United States and other countries who face similar challenges to me, and sharing knowledge about how to thrive in the face of those challenges. Over the years, notwithstanding the distance, I've made a lot of great friends, and that has really enriched my career experience.
Tell us a fun or surprising fact about yourself.
I'm not sure it is surprising, but it sure can be fun. One of my passions is collecting really good Australian wines. I've managed to put together a pretty good collection over the years, and I have an open invitation to LVN members to drop in and see me when they are in Australia for work or pleasure so that we can share a glass or two!