Bernie Hung

Episode 39    20 September 2021

Uniquely combining coaching, business and law

Bernie Hung.jpg

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Uniquely combining coaching, business and lawBernie Hung
00:00 / 39:12

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Bernie Hung

Founder, Blue Box Rocket

IP lawyer, business consultant and executive coach

Bernie Hung is a lawyer and the founder and CEO of Blue Box Rocket. 

She has a unique approach to serving clients, combining her experience as an IP and technology lawyer, her business acumen from being Asia-Pacific in-house counsel to a top multinational luxury group and her executive coaching skills, backed up by well-regarded courses and certifications. 

We talk about how through her work she brings out the best in entrepreneurs and CEOs who are driven to make the world a better place.   

Bio

Show notes

Links

Transcript

Comments

Bio:

Bernie Hung is a lawyer and the founder and CEO of Blue Box Rocket. 

 

BlueBox Rocket is a revolutionary Vision-to-Launch service that helps pioneering entrepreneurs and CEOs grow their seed of an idea into reality, or scale up their business for massive expansion. Through a unique blend of legal expertise, business consulting, and empowerment coaching, Bernie helps high performing pioneers, creatives, and changemakers who wish to disrupt the world with their philosophies and products.

 

She has a passionate belief that unconventional ideas require unconventional support and knows that the best lawyers and business mentors should also provide inspiration, creativity, empowerment, and fun. She calls herself the Rebel lawyer.

Show notes:

  • [1:56] Bernie relates her journey from a lawyer in BigLaw to in-house counsel for Gucci in Asia - a hectic job which saw her managing all legal matters for the luxury brand in multiple jurisdictions.
  • [6:20] Bernie found herself learning all she could about the business to become a more effective and efficient lawyer.

  • [8:59] Bernie now practises as an IP lawyer with a Hong Kong law firm but from her London base runs Blue Box Rocket which provides clients with an assimilated legal, business consulting and executive coaching service.

  • [12:08] Based on her experience as an in-house lawyer, Bernie provides her clients with a more holistic legal service and aims to understand them and their business comprehensively.  

  • [13:57] She began to find that she was dealing with clients, they were opening up to her about their mindset and their businesses.

  • [17:37] Bernie deals mainly with entrepreneurs and CEOs who are looking to take an idea from a seed to reality or to scale up or expand significantly. 

  • [19:51] Bernie found no-one was combining the services of lawyer, business consultant and executive coach as she was.

  • [24:36] Bernie considers that a Rebel Lawyer is a lawyer who provides services in an unconventional way. who seeks to understand the client first as a person.

  • [29:54] Bernie tested her approach with those seeking to serve others, such as those in caring professions or those with innovative products.

  • [32:28] Bernie's idea is to create a Rebel Lawyer school that will teach her combined approach to other lawyers. 

  • [36:09] Bernie's dream is to be part of reforming the profession, teaching lawyers practical skills and repairing the negative reputation that lawyers have.

Links:

Bernie's personal website: berniehung.com

BlueBox Rocket: blueboxrocket.co.uk

 

 
 
 
Bernie Hung Image Quote IG.jpg
 

Transcript: 

 

Geraldine  0:12  
Hello, everyone and welcome to the new earth lawyer podcast. My name is Geraldine Johns-Putra. I'm your host, I'm a lawyer based in Melbourne, Australia. I'm speaking to you from Boonwurrung country and so I would like to pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. Today I am speaking with Bernie hung, a lawyer, the founder and CEO of Blue Box Rocket. Blue Box Rocket is a revolutionary vision-to-launch service, and it helps pioneering entrepreneurs and CEOs grow their seed of an idea to reality. She helps them scale up their businesses for massive expansion. Through her blend of legal expertise, business consulting, and empowerment coaching, Bernie helps these high performing pioneers, creatives and changemakers, who want to disrupt the world with their philosophies and their products. She has a passionate belief in unconventional ideas. that there require unconventional support. She calls herself the rebel lawyer. So today, we're going to find out all about that. Welcome, Bernie, and thank you for being on the show. 

 

Bernie  1:21  
Thank you, Geraldine, very happy to be here with your audience. 

 

Geraldine  1:25  
And we were saying before we started recording that it's been a while since we've caught up. And when I knew you, when we last met, which we were trying to figure out, I was a corporate lawyer, and you were an intellectual property lawyer. And there's been a lot that's happened since then. So why don't you fill me in on what's happened and fill in everybody who's listening as to how you transitioned from IP lawyer to the rebel lawyer and coach? 

 

Bernie  1:56  
Sure, of course, of course, we were trying to figure out when we last met, possibly it was when I joined not so long ago, I think after I joined Gucci as counsel. That was my first and only in-house job. Actually, I started my career in big international law firms, it's actually where we met, right, I started off in JSM, which is now Mayer Brown in Hong Kong. And then Linklaters right, and then I joined Gucci and as a legal counsel, and that was my only in house job. But it was a fascinating one, because it kind of like elevated my practice from IP and technology lawyer to like, pretty much all rounded lawyer, because when I first joined Gucci, I was the only lawyer in the entire Asia Pacific. We covered 15 jurisdictions at the time. So since I was the only person so I ended up having to do everything, really literally everything by myself. I didn't even have a secretary or paralegal. So everything, legal, IP, regulatory, compliance, all me but which is good. But you can imagine my first couple of years was really hectic, I basically ended up I think, maybe sleeping on an average, maybe four hours a day, because my headquarters, they were all the brands headquarters, which are in Europe, some in the US, but majority of them are in Europe. And then I was in Hong Kong, and then I covered the Asia Pacific time zones, right. So it's like, well, literally all day, actually more busy than I was when I was in Linklaters. That's why it was so crazy. For me, I remember saying to myself and some of my friends at the time, oh, if you ever think that joining, going in house would be an easier job than working at Linklaters, maybe not. But actually, I really ended up really loving that job. I first joined with Gucci, but then later on I worked on the parent company level, I worked at Kering level as senior legal counsel for APAC, I think in or at around 8 years altogether. And during those 8 years, basically, of course, I handled all the IP or the legal or the legal regulatory stuff for the entire region. But I also worked very, very close to business, because that's part of the job right to get the legal regulatory stuff properly done. 

 

Geraldine  4:51  
Sure. 

 

Bernie  4:51  
You basically need to be really, really close to senior management. And also all my local colleagues in APAC. So that was the bit that that really helped me elevate my profession and my career as well. Because of those years where I worked really, really close with senior management, I learned a lot from how to run a business, how to operate a business in different countries, how to do it internationally, with legal and, you know, legal regulatory support, basically as support, but then the first and foremost is how to run the business. 

 

Geraldine  5:33  
Yes, yeah. 

 

Bernie  5:35  
You need to understand where the business is, where it's going, where does it want to go? And then all the other functions, including legal is to help the business get there? 

 

Geraldine  5:48  
Which is, that is the perspective that you don't always get as the external lawyer. 

 

Bernie  5:55  
Absolutely.

 

Geraldine  5:55  
And if you're in a very lean team, across many jurisdictions, I can imagine you certainly did have to fuse with the business.

 

Bernie  6:04  
Absolutely.

 

Geraldine  6:05  
And to make your job more efficient, so that you didn't waste a lot of time because you didn't have a lot of it. You had to understand the basics.

 

Bernie  6:13  
And absolutely, that's when I first started training myself. 

 

Geraldine  6:18  
Yeah. 

 

Bernie  6:20  
To first and foremost, get to understand what the business wants to do, what they have in mind, what is their five year plan? Because you, I didn't have enough time to just look at now, I wanted to preempt them coming back, you know, every day with the same issue, right? So I wanted to think a little bit ahead, where do you want to go, you know, with this project, with this plan, three to five years in whatever country that you want to go into, where you really operate in. Then I can provide, you know, a more supportive and realistic strategy as well. And then to implement it in a much more cost effective way. Because I know the end goal, I don't only work on the inquiry when it comes through the door, which is a lot of times what external lawyers do, right? The lawyers, not lawyers, the client goes to the external lawyer with a question and then you provide the answer, you send a bill. And that's it, right?

 

Geraldine  7:24  
That's it, you cut off. that you don't have to ... you're starting at a point where you haven't seen the strategy. 

 

Bernie  7:30  
Exactly. 

 

Geraldine  7:30  
You come in, and then you cut off, you don't really have any ownership of the outcome.

 

Bernie  7:35  
Absolutely. 

 

Geraldine  7:36  
It's yours. You take care of it. 

 

Bernie  7:38  
Yeah. And then a lot of the times, we as external lawyers, we do not know what our advice, you know, where does it end up, to actually get implemented? 

 

Geraldine  7:48  
Yeah. 

 

Bernie  7:48  
How is it, has it been twisted you know, in whatever way? We just never find out, right? 

 

Geraldine  7:55  
Yeah. 

 

Bernie  7:56  
But on the other side, as in-house, that's where you get to really do the real work right, with the company, with your management. Because the job, with the in-house, it does not end when I get the advice, right? That's the start of it. And then you then work with legal, not legal, you then work with the different business units, you work with the senior management team to implement it, right? If anything gets wrong in the middle, you need to tweak it with the local operational people right. Now, that's helped me a lot, you know, learning the nitty gritty, how it works inside a company, a big corporation. 

 

Geraldine  8:37  
But you were still very much a lawyer in house. Were you enjoying being a lawyer? Was it part of your identity to be a lawyer because you're not now a practising lawyer any more, are you? 

 

Bernie  8:48  
No, no I am still a practising lawyer. 

 

Geraldine  8:50  
Are you still in practice? Okay. 

 

Bernie  8:51  
I'm a consultant with a Hong Kong law firm. We are a first tier IP law firm. So I'm still practising as a Hong Kong lawyer. So they're my clients.

 

Geraldine  9:00  
A-ha.

 

Bernie  8:59  
Well, most of my clients have been with me for more than 10 years I think. Well, that kind of like ages me. Yeah, they've been with me for a long time. That's why I don't want to like give up the practice. I guess, when you've worked and you've served your clients for so long, I mean, to be honest, most of them have kind of like become friends to a certain extent, right? So I don't want to just somehow ditch them or send them off somewhere else when I relocated to London, right? So I kept my practice. I'm still practising as a Hong Kong lawyer. But on top of that, I'm doing other things.

 

Geraldine 9:00  
Yeah. Tell us about the other things

Bernie  9:40  
Yeah, the other things. Yeah, like my rocket project, which is one of the business ventures that I have in London, where I basically provide clients with an assimilated service - legal. business and coaching. So legal and business, as I mentioned earlier, to me it's like, you can't have one without the other. You know, if you wanted to provide legal support, first and foremost, you need to understand the business. So when I work with a new client, of course, they come to me with some sort of a legal question that they think they have, right? But my approach normally is to understand them, understand their business, their brand, the company, the structure, what they want to do, what are they doing now, rightly or wrongly, where they want to go eventually? What are their plans? Business plans. 

 

Geraldine  10:37  
Yeah, yes, Yep. Yep. 

 

Bernie  10:39  
And then we come back and talk about the legal issues.

 

Geraldine  10:43  
Ah, so you have a business conversation? And then you take them through the legal solution. 

 

Bernie  10:50  
Yep.

 

Geraldine  10:51  
That's really interesting, I find that that's actually possible more now that I've stepped out of practice with a large firm and I practise on my own, I find that it's possible to have those conversations in a far more, closer way with the client without the pressure of billing. 

 

Bernie  11:10  
Yeah. 

 

Geraldine  11:10  
How much does my time cost? How much is it going to cost you? And then growing with the business. So you make an investment with the client.

 

Bernie  11:20  
Yeah, I still do, not only with my consulting business in London, but in my firm, serving the clients. You know, from my Hong Kong law firm, I still do that my approach is still similar as well. But although, as you said, we need to be mindful of the billable, with the billing hours, so you cannot like, you know, ask clients about their life story, you know, it's a meeting.

 

Geraldine  11:46  
Yep, yep.

 

Bernie  11:47  
But yes, but you know, but I still start from there. I still start from understanding the client, the person, his or her position in the company, just to understand the dynamics a little bit, right? And then understand the business, the brand, where they are present, where they want to go, I still do all those business stuff first. 

 

Geraldine  12:08  
Okay. 

 

Bernie  12:08  
Before I talk about the legal stuff. You know, in my experience, sometimes clients come to us thinking that they have issue A. After you ask all those questions, you actually know that they don't have issue A. They have issue, C, D, E and everything else, but not A, right? So but if you don't ask those questions, you will never find out. And they will never know. So what happens is that you give them a solution for issue A, they go back and they realise this is not what I need, right? So it's like they paid for something that they, it eventually is actually not going to be helpful for them inside a company. And then the feeling for them is that oh, actually, this lawyer is no use. 

 

Geraldine  12:58  
Yeah.

 

Bernie  12:58  
I paid the money. Well, that advice actually doesn't help me in any way. So that is not the type of lawyer that I wanted to be. 

 

Geraldine  13:06  
Okay. 

 

Bernie  13:08  
Because I, when I was in house, I had that experience, because I was the client, right? And there were so many external lawyers, to my surprise that, really still do that nowadays, like, but but then you have to use external lawyers. You know, when you're in house, I mean, there are so many jurisdictions, and I don't practice in every one of them, each practice area, right? So to a large extent, we need to rely on external counsel. But then the good thing, of course, me being a lawyer, I kind of like know, the questions to ask, right?

 

Geraldine  13:46  
So did you use that experience... 

 

Bernie  13:49  
Yeah. 

 

Geraldine  13:49  
To guide your philosophy around business and legal? 

 

Bernie  13:54  
Yeah. 

 

Geraldine  13:54  
Where did the coaching come in?

 

Bernie  13:57  
Yeah, the coaching comes in, in the sense that I apply the coaching skills, asking questions, primarily, without expectation, without judgment. And without making assumptions. When I ask my clients questions, on the business side, or even on the slightly personal level, because sometimes when they, well it depends on what the client said, I mean, if they, after some time, they normally would start opening up a little bit. They would explain, they may explain to you that the dynamics within the company, a little bit of the political issues, here and there, how you present the advice may have an impact, you know, on how they present it to senior management or their boss or whatever. So if I as an external lawyer, or legal consultant, I understand those dynamics a little bit better. I can deliver my advice in the most helpful way to my client. So when I talk about assimilating coaching into my practice is, is that I use the skills that I learned in coaching, when I ask questions. Which is actually very, very different from asking questions as a lawyer, because, you know, when we ask legal questions or legal related questions, we tend to have a lot of assumptions and expectations because of our experience, right? But when I ask questions in a really open minded way, an open ended way, without assumptions, expectations, and so on, I mean, you tend to receive a lot of answers, so to speak, that you will not otherwise have had received.

 

Geraldine  15:47  
So how do you decide at what point you're being a coach, what point you're being a lawyer and what point you're being a business expert? 

 

Bernie  15:55  
Yep. It depends on what the client said, in my experience, when, especially when I work with entrepreneurs or founders of the business. I mean, they are the business effectively, right? So when I ask them business related questions, it depends on what the clients said but at some point in time, I would know, or sense that, hmm, there might be a mindset issue somewhere there. Especially when they are like, being really, really super realistic, that a lot of the time suggests a scarcity mindset to be honest, because they can't see beyond now, they can only see now, and I need to like manage everything, that security, every dollar, every cent, that a lot of the time suggests, to me a scarcity mindset, or some other roadblocks along the way that, you know, that may be blocking them expanding the business. So that's where the coaching will come into play. And when I talk to a client, on Zoom, or in person, I will make it very clear that, you know, oh, we're entering kind of like, the coaching zone, if you don't mind. So I make it very clear. I'm not talking to you as a lawyer. Now, if, you know, if you're happy to discuss these issues, you know, is what I do as a business mentor, as far as a business coach, you know, we can talk about, we can explore a little bit more on these topics. For example, when I'm the lawyer giving, the consultant, the advice, then, of course, I would make sure the client understands that this is the legal bit. So I do make it very clear in the conversation.

 

Geraldine  17:33  
So what kinds of clients do you tend to attract?

 

Bernie  17:37  
Well, I want to serve entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs and businesses. Either they have a new idea, a new innovative idea, or product they want to launch to change our world for the better. 

 

Geraldine  17:51  
Yeah. 

 

Bernie  17:51  
A completely new, you know, in the business, I want to help them grow the business, launch the business. That's why I call Rocket our vision-to-launch service. The other group of clients that I really wanted to work with are businesses who have been there for, say, a few years, they have some earnings, they're quite established in maybe one country, and they now are ready to scale up to go abroad or, you know, expand into Asia or China or whatever. I want to help them level up. So I basically want to work with these two categories of clients, but in the end, they are entrepreneurs, they are CEOs. 

 

Geraldine  18:36  
Yep. 

 

Bernie  18:37  
Many companies have innovative products or services that change our world. Because I think my time and energy are really precious. If and if I work when I work with clients, I'm like 200% dedicated, so I only have that much time to serve a handful of people really, really well. I do not like doing a mediocre job, you know, since I was a kid, so so I thought to myself, if I'm using a lot of my time and energy helping my clients, well I want to help those who can change our world for the better. 

 

Geraldine  19:17  
Yeah. 

 

Bernie  19:17  
I do not just want to help people who want to earn a lot of money. 

 

Geraldine  19:20  
Yeah. Was that something that came to you later on in your career? 

 

Bernie  19:26  
Yeah.

 

Geraldine  19:26  
Or was it something you had from early on? At what point?  

 

Bernie  19:29  
Yeah. 

 

Geraldine  19:29  
What was the epiphany?

 

Bernie  19:35  
Well, it actually has been quite a recent thing for me in the last two, three years. I have always been providing the legal services, the business consultancy and the coaching separately. 

 

Geraldine  19:50  
Yeah. Okay. 

 

Bernie  19:51  
But then, over time, I find that actually my clients some of my clients actually need all three. Especially if they are like entrepreneurs starting a business or, you know, scaling up the business. Then I realised, actually they need all three. And then it would be really weird to see them or to tell them to go find three different experts to help them. Whereas I can be the ones who help them, that's so weird, right? So I, that's when I first think of oh, how about combining the three into one single service? And then I, you know, do the same thing. I mean, I google it, you know, a bit and then do some research, oh, apparently, no one is doing that. I was like, okay. Doest that mean it cannot be done? I mean, if it can be done, someone must have been doing it for some time, right? Because I was trying to find someone who can do that. And you can find lawyers who are also business consultants, or do business mentoring.

 

Geraldine  20:57  
Yes.

 

Bernie  20:57  
That's no problem. But to find someone who also does coaching or business coaching, oh, maybe not, I mean, coaching in the traditional sense, not... 

 

Geraldine  21:09  
Yeah.

 

Bernie  21:09  
Well, nowadays, everybody calls themselves a coach, but in the more traditional way.

 

Geraldine  21:14  
But I think there are plenty of lawyers I've spoken to who have become coaches, but are no longer practising law.

 

Bernie  21:21  
Yeah, yeah. So they at some point in time they give up?

 

Geraldine  21:26  
Yeah. Yeah.

 

Bernie  21:28  
I really love IP and technology, I do not want to give it up. And I help entrepreneurs, right? And they have innovative ideas or product. And that's IP.

 

Geraldine  21:40  
Yes.

 

Bernie  21:40  
To me it's really odd that I will give up my IP practice when I pursue my other ventures, because it's integrated in one.

 

Geraldine  21:49  
Totally 

 

Bernie  21:49  
Right? 

 

Geraldine  21:50  
Yeah. 

 

Bernie  21:50  
So that's why I do not want to give up my practice. First and foremost, I really like IP, I think it's, IP and tech, is the way to go.

 

Geraldine  22:00  
Because it's also that this is where the alignment of your skill set is so wonderful, because it's about inspiration, ideas coming out from within, from someone and you can coach them that way as well as give them this practical legal advice, it's quite wonderful. 

 

Bernie  22:19  
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So that's when I started thinking, oh, let's try to combine the three, or how to, well is it possible to combine the three? Is it, well, how to do it in a way that's kind of like, understandable by people? Because it's quite unique in the market. 

 

Geraldine  22:39  
Mm. It is. 

 

Bernie  22:39  
Yeah, so I was like, how to do it, how to do the marketing, how to position myself? Yeah, so I spent some time thinking about

 

Geraldine  22:48  
So at this point, had you done coaching courses? Because I know that you've got accreditation.

 

Bernie  22:53  
Yeah. 

 

Geraldine  22:53  
So you had done it already and then you fused them? 

 

Bernie  22:56  
Yeah.

 

Geraldine  22:56  
Ah, so it's not like you decided to fuse them, and then you went off and you studied, did your coaching courses. 

 

Bernie  23:02  
Oh no, no.

 

Geraldine  23:03  
So you separately had decided you wanted to do coaching? 

 

Bernie  23:06  
Yep.

 

Geraldine  23:06  
Ah. And did you find the take up when you fused them, what was it like? What was the response like from the market? Were you going to clients and saying you're my legal client, and I'm now prepared to provide you with the coaching and separately, you're my coaching client, I'm now prepared to give you legal advice.

 

Bernie  23:24  
No, not really like that. But you know, I always start from where, what the client wants. 

 

Geraldine  23:32  
Yeah. Makes sense. 

 

Bernie  23:35  
Yeah. When if a client comes to me for legal, yeah, that's where I start, okay. When I in the course of providing the service, they get to know me better, they get to know my style, they get to know what other things I can do or help them with. And then it starts from there. It could be a coaching client. You know, it started off with coaching some issues, personal issues, health problems, or whatever it is, right? It could then become a conversation about oh, they happen to be thinking of starting a business. Then suddenly the business side comes into it, right?

 

Geraldine  24:11  
And where are most of your clients based? Are they based in the UK? 

 

Bernie  24:15  
Worldwide really nowadays. 

 

Geraldine  24:16  
Yes. Okay. It's so interesting, so interesting. 

 

Bernie  24:20  
I know.

 

Geraldine  24:21  
And tell me about the rebel lawyer.

 

Bernie  24:23  
Oh, yeah. It's basically...

 

Geraldine  24:26  
What's that?

 

Bernie  24:27  
Yeah. I call myself a rebel lawyer in the sense that I provide, I don't provide my legal services in the conventional way. 

 

Geraldine  24:35  
Yeah. Okay. 

 

Bernie  24:36  
So rebel to me, it's a creative, unconventional person. I mean, I'm not suggesting lawyers go out there to break the laws and...

 

Geraldine  24:47  
You don't have to go very far to be rebellious as a lawyer right. I feel I'm rebellious as well. .

 

Bernie  24:56  
I know. That's why I've learned a lot from so when I first come across your podcast, and then you know, I read your LinkedIn bio, and all that, I was like, oh, there's a rebel.

 

Geraldine  25:10  
Certainly a few of us growing in number, because the old way of practising law was so restrictive. 

 

Bernie  25:16  
Absolutely. 

 

Geraldine  25:17  
So ineffective? Like you said, you take the client's question, you look at it a certain way, you draw all kinds of restrictions around, you just give that advice. And like you said, sometimes, you can't even make the question fit into the box. Doesn't matter. You've provided, and that's it, then you charge a client. And that's, in some ways, that's traditional law practice, without thinking about the client, without thinking about their, who they are, what they need, their experiences, their, mindset, traumas, etc, etc. And all of that now, I interview people who are doing it, including us.

 

Bernie  25:57  
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So for me, I actually have been doing that. You know, even I think from my in house days, just without knowing it, is the natural way that I talk to people really, because I want to understand them as a person, first and foremost, then what they do, you know, what are their challenges, etc. legal issue is one of the challenges, right, one of the roadblocks, so to speak. But I I'm a curious person, I always wanted to just understand the person first and foremost, if they have launched a business or if they have an idea they want to launch. Why do they want to do that? So I'm really curious in this, and then when you get to know the client a little bit better know their business, a lot better understand their vision, or actually help expand that vision? A little bit, you know, go to a bigger place. I mean, they are all creative people, right? 

 

Geraldine  27:00  
Yeah. 

 

Bernie  27:02  
They have all the, they have all the, everything they need to go to a much bigger place. And as coach, that's my role to help them get there, help them see that they can get that. And we work together, you know, to help them get to that place that they want to be changing the world for the better. And then legal is really a relatively small bit in the grand scheme of things to be honest, but is a very important skill set. Very important things to get right from the start, especially protecting your IP, and protecting technology, if you happen to be an IP or tech heavy company.

 

Geraldine  27:45  
So do you have a particular way that you work with clients, when you onboard them?

 

Bernie  27:51  
I have my methodology, I have a method, which I know what to do. But as I mentioned, I normally start with finding out where the client is. So by asking questions, you know, different types of questions, just to gauge you know, where they are right now, and which, which approach may work better for them. So I don't, well I go through my methodology in the end, but I don't have a necessary, like, very rigid way, oh I must start with question one, and then through an order, and must ask the ten questions in the first meeting? No, I don't have that rigidness in finding out what the clients do, because I wanted to meet the client where they are really so you know, depends on what they want to talk more about. You know, some people like when you ask them certain questions, they can just go on forever, because they those are topics that they are really, really passionate about. So I would just give them time, you know, to talk about it. And then I will maybe ask the other questions in there, and then next meeting or something, so I don't have very rigid way of doing it. But I do follow, my methodology.

 

Geraldine  29:11  
And then in terms of your clients making impact in the world, you say that they tend to be creatives and entrepreneurs. So give us some examples of the sectors that you find your clients in, what they do.

 

Bernie  29:24  
I started off with this approach. I tested the approach with coaching clients to be honest, and some of them are like starting their coaching business or they are therapists or psychologists, you know, pivoting during COVID period, you know, to become coaches, etc. So those definitely are very creative, and they have their own ICA, they have their own ideal client, that they wanted to serve to help and help make those people better, right? So I believe wanted to help them. So I started off with helping coaches. And then of course, I would want to integrate my IP and tech practice a little bit more so I then try to pick and choose, you know, some new tech company or you know, young, well, young companies or brands, which is a bit more IP or tech heavy. And I would tend to choose those with an innovative product that just makes our lives easier. So, solve an issue solve a problem that we all have, right. So I love that, doing those things, or you know, there are ways where people buy things online, trade in the marketplace, or source certain materials from some countries, but then there are entrepreneurs out there who have created an easier way, quicker, more simple way, more sustainable way. And I wanted to help them, you know, help their business to be successful, because in the end, it's just helping us, you know, as people on Earth.

 

Geraldine  31:07  
Yeah, I mean, it's just little practical ways. And what you're getting at is, is the seed of capitalism isn't actually about people who go out and want to make money. It's about people who want to go out and make a difference.

 

Bernie  31:21  
Absolutely. I strongly believe that. If we all set out, business owners we all set out our intent, to set our intention to be serving people? I don't think you need to be worried about the money. 

 

Geraldine  31:41  
Yeah, yeah. 

 

Bernie  31:42  
It will come in.

 

Geraldine  31:43  
Yeah. I was gonna ask you as well, whether you see your model as one that might take off. So are you seeing any other coach, lawyer, business expert services? 

 

Bernie  31:57  
Well I actually interesting question, what I wanted to do is one of my projects, working alongside Rocket is when I'm having connection calls or conversations with people, especially when they are lawyers, I try to out if whether they are a rebel like me, because I wanted to create a rebel law school. 

 

Geraldine  32:23  
Ah, okay. 

 

Bernie  32:24  
Yeah, for lawyers really. 

 

Geraldine  32:27  
Yup.

 

Bernie  32:28  
So that I wanted to create a school, put together some courses or curriculum to help maybe middle to senior ranking in lawyers, at the start relatively early on in the career to learn all this and to practise all these business skills and coaching skills. So then when they become really senior partner level, whatever, and you know, they can go out there. Serve their clients much better. So I wanted to create a rebel law school. So when I'm having conversations with possibly like minded rebels, I wanted to explore with them whether they will be interested to join my rebel law school, to, you know, I want to form a core team of founders, so to speak, or co founders, and then we will work together to put together curriculum for lawyers. They must, whoever signs up on these courses, they must be really good lawyers to start with, because I'm not teaching them legal technical stuff, right? 

 

Geraldine  33:32  
Yep. 

 

Bernie  33:33  
You could do it in the proper law school, not proper, in the traditional law schools. But when you sign up to our courses, what we teach you are things that you do not learn in traditional law schools, or you do not even learn in your own law firms. 

 

Geraldine  33:48  
Mm. Mm. 

 

Bernie  33:49  
Right? So all the business stuff, how to run the business you might have, you might have, you know, an MBA, or you might have taken some business course, but it doesn't mean that you know how to run a business, right? And then I wanted to also integrate coaching as well. So either we provide coaching courses as well, or if we don't have that capacity, maybe we will team up with the certification school, coaching school. Yeah, and require our students to take the course as well as part of the curriculum, something like that. So I have those ideas. And when I'm talking with like minded rebel lawyers, I wanted to explore with them, whether we can form a core team and then put together some courses, talk to different partners, business partners, then we can put together this curriculum because my intention is that I mean, for all the brilliant lawyers out there, why don't you learn all these skills earlier on? Why, why wait till you're partner? Why wait till you're 20 years as a partner and still don't know that? That's really it for me.

 

Geraldine  35:04  
Yeah, it also goes to the law firm model where we tend to train younger lawyers in the technical skills and business development skills, but they're very narrow business development skills. And then we actually expect them to be owners of the business, when they make partner and then magically, they're going to have these skills, they'll go out and run the business and manage people, and so on and so forth. And we're surprised when , you know, there are so many, very good lawyers have become partners, but they lack all of the other skills that are needed to run a business. 

 

Bernie  35:42  
Yeah, absolutely, running a law firm is very different from running another corporation, right? And I think traditional law schools may be teaching in such a way that thinking these lawyers are going to be eventually hopefully partners in a law firm, but they are not necessarily the path for for those people, many of them venture off setting up their own businesses and doing other stuff, right?

 

Geraldine  36:07  
Yeah, yep. Indeed. 

 

Bernie  36:09  
So I think, in a way, by creating a rebel law school and teaching people really the practical side of things, how to serve the clients, first and foremost, as human beings are not so much thinking about bills and your billable hours and the target that you need to reach. I mean, that's not really how I was trained. So I want to, I want to team up with, you know, like minded people, and reform the profession in that way.

 

Geraldine  36:44  
Are you finding that you are teaming up with groups, other associations of lawyers? I am loosely affiliated with a group that call themselves the integrative lawyers. And I find that a lot of what you're saying resonates with the integrative lawyers, this kind of systems thinking, value based thinking, reflecting on our role. 

 

Bernie  37:08  
Yeah. 

 

Geraldine  37:08  
So are you finding that you're actually, that there are pods of lawyers who think like you?

 

Bernie  37:15  
Ah, so far, I've found a few very, very like minded rebels, I can actually sense.

 

Geraldine  37:23  
Yeah, yeah.

 

Bernie  37:27  
That's a rebel over there. But I would love the opportunity to connect with, you know, organisations that you mentioned, to find more people. I mean, the more people, more rebels lawyers that I can find the better. I mean, I can get to the rebel law school idea much quicker.

 

Geraldine  37:44  
I think so. I mean there are 20 or so lawyers I've already interviewed in the last few months. And I could definitely connect you with a few. Many will be very interested in the idea, of this combination.

 

Bernie  37:59  
Yeah, please do because in the end, with this initiative, I want to change people's perception of a lawyer. I mean, unfortunately, when you google it's so odd. When you google lawyers, you know, things about lawyers normally it's the negative stuff. The negative perceptions that come first and foremost in the search are crazy. And so, and the legal profession is such a big profession. Unfortunately, there's a lot of bad rap about it. So I wanted to do my little part to change that perception. But first and foremost is for lawyers to really effectively use their skills, use that talent to serve their clients.

 

Geraldine  38:46  
Brilliant. Well, I wish you all the best Bernie and it has been really fantastic to catch up with you again to see where you are on your path. So all the best with the rebel law school and thank you for being with us.

 

Bernie  39:00  
Thank you for having me.


 

 

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