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  • Meet Chelsea Bonini, Chief Legal Officer, Conscious Inclusion Company

    By Heidi Turner, Chelsea Bonini is a fierce advocate for equity, inclusion, and civil rights. Her experience as a lawyer, as a mom of a child with a disability, and a former elementary school teacher enables Chelsea to use her legal expertise and her unique perspective to advocate for change in systems that are meant to serve and support our communities. As the founder of Kiski Law, P.C., Chelsea advises clients on corporate formation, governance, transactions, and agreements. In addition to her work as a lawyer, Chelsea was elected as a Board Trustee on the San Mateo County Board of Education in November 2020; she serves on the San Mateo County Commission on Disabilities; and she serves on the Board of Directors for NAMI San Mateo County (National Alliance for Mental Illness). Chelsea also served as a Board Trustee in her own school district in San Mateo, California from 2013-2017. In 2018, Chelsea co-founded Not Without Us, a non-profit that is dedicated to increasing awareness of ableism and civil rights, encouraging community leadership, and creating a seamless and coordinated system of supports for more equitable and inclusionary opportunities and better outcomes in our schools, communities, and workplaces. Chelsea leads workshops on understanding systemic ableism, becoming anti-ableist, and embracing inclusive and equitable practices in education for Conscious Inclusion Company. What led you to advocating for people with disabilities? I have a son who was diagnosed with a disability at age 5. He is now 13, so I’ve been learning to navigate our educational and mental health systems for 9 years. It’s been eye-opening to see the silos in services, the lack of transparency regarding early supports, and the severe gap in crisis supports for children and their families. Early in my journey to ensure that my child was receiving his education, I moved into a place of advocating, learning about existing systems, and seeking opportunities for community input. I also started a non-profit with some friends to provide a source of community support for parents in crisis and to build momentum for systemic change locally and beyond. We realized that the information we had about services, supports and paths forward has been learned by chance, and that many families were struggling with similar issues related to all kinds of disabilities. So now, my work in the public and advocacy spheres focuses on equity, inclusion and accessibility related to human and civil rights for all persons with disabilities and paths to change current practices. It is more common for the legal system to be used in attempts to uphold civil rights, rather than relying on education, sharing information about resources and rights, and empathy building, but I truly believe that if people know better, they do better. This mindset has led to my work in sharing experiences and creating empathy with leaders in positions to make policy changes, as well as to my own public service. To create long-term impact, we need work together to change our broken systems, not just litigate these issues on a case-by-case basis. How can organizations create job descriptions that are more diverse? When seeking diversity in new employee candidates, a company’s focus should be on accurately representing the inclusive nature of the company when writing a company profile related to a job description. A focus on the company’s inclusive culture is more likely to draw a diverse group of candidates. It’s important to acknowledge that systemic opportunity gaps likely limit efforts to build a diverse and inclusive workforce. Identifying aspects of a job that are preferred versus essential may alleviate the common problem of initially screening out excellent and diverse candidates who may not have the same experience or may not have attended the top schools from which you typically seek candidates. This will open your access to candidates who are often very qualified and who will be committed to the success of your company. What are some creative ways to proactively find candidates from underrepresented communities? If your organization isn’t typically diverse, you really need to try new ways of reaching qualified employee candidates. The same efforts will get you the same results, so it’s important to think outside of the box. Companies should focus on building relationships with diverse organizations, educational institutions, and regions outside their scope of typical recruitment practices to proactively find candidates from underrepresented communities. Tapping into the insights of people already in your organization to find out their ideas, connections, and networks for viable candidates could also be very effective in diversifying your candidate pool. What is your biggest piece of advice for getting started with diversity and inclusion? It’s important to review and honestly assess your current company culture and hiring practices. If your company has not been able to build or maintain diversity, it’s likely because you have some inclusion work to do. It is unrealistic to think that you can create a sustainable diverse and inclusive culture by just assembling people of different backgrounds. Examining why your company is not diverse and inclusive is an essential first step to creating change. If people don’t feel they belong or that they have opportunities to make real impact, they won’t stay at your company. Developing a culture of inclusion will support ongoing efforts to retain a diverse and productive workforce. #HeidiTurner #ChelseaBonini #diversity #equity #inclusion #civilrights

  • Escrow Agreements in Software Technology Licensing Arrangements

    By Ibrahim Usman Wali. Many global corporate arrangements and rearrangements today are technologically concentrated. Start-ups and corporates alike are being purchased and sold solely for their tech substance. In the tech sector, particularly software, the bulk of proprietary rights are intangible, thereby making them Intellectual Property assets. Just like tangibles, Intellectual Property rights in software can be let via licensing. Software licensing allows a Licensee to legally use software, the usage of which would otherwise have been a copyright breach. A software license grants usage rights to an end-user and defines the scope and extent to which an end-user can deploy the software of an owner subject to consideration. At the back end of a software is what is known as source codes. Source codes are the original, unfiltered versions of the software as originally written. It is the primary programming language of a computer programme. Writing source codes is the most time consuming and brain taxing aspect of software development. Under the Nigerian intellectual property regime, source codes are majorly protected under copyright laws. Section 39 of the Copyright Act [1] defines literary works to include computer programmes, it also further defines computer programmes as ‘statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result’. This is exactly what source codes are. Software Licensing Agreements (SLA) are the conditioned transfer of a finished software product, or that of the source codes, depending on the circumstance and needs of the parties involved. Many a times, Licensees obtain a license for a software programme, and during the pendency of such license, the Licensor, for some reason, fails to satisfy their end of the agreement by their inability or unwillingness to continue to sustain the programme. Such action may prove fatal to the business of the Licensor, especially if the programme is vital to their operation. This is where an Escrow Agreement, involving a third party depositor proves vital. A technology escrow, also called a software escrow, protects all parties in a software licensing arrangement by depositing the source code, data and all accessories attached to the software with a third party neutral, pending the occurrence of a stated event. Software escrows are beneficial to both parties in an SLA arrangement. For the Licensors, it protects them from any potential misuse or disclosure and duplication of the codes by the Licensee. It also allows them to license the software to as many Licensees as possible, as the control of the codes vest with a third party and not a single Licensee. It, therefore, protects their business and allows them to profit from it. For the Licensees, it allows them access to the code which is vital to their business in the event that the Licensor goes out of business, by reasons either of bankruptcy, rearrangement, death (for non-corporates), obsolescence, and other unforeseen circumstances covered in the agreement. In essence, it allows the Licensor to retain their IP rights, while the Licensee gets assurances that the source codes and other related accessories are within their reach. A software escrow typically involves four steps. The coming together of the relevant parties to the SLA, the escrow agent to design the agreement and identify the release conditions. Release conditions are those events that trigger the delivery of the codes and related accessories to either of the parties. The owners and other sub-contractors, if any, deposit the materials and all others related to the IP. The escrow agent collects, tests, verifies and stores the deposited materials in a high level storage space. On the occurrence of any specified release event, the escrow agent releases the materials to the designated party, usually the Licensee. What happens when the SLA expires? The escrow agent either releases the materials to the Intellectual Property owner or destroys them, the terms of which are largely spelt out in the SLA. It is important that the materials are updated timeously whilst at the possession of the escrow agent, as new versions of the software develop. Most modern escrow agents have this system automated and the updates run concurrently. It is important to ask some preliminary questions before effecting a software escrow arrangement. Is the escrow even necessary? Some of the preliminary assessments necessary before engaging in the money-consuming arrangement include: the likelihood of the vendor breaching or discontinuing its maintenance and support obligations, the financial stability of the vendor, .the size of the vendor’s operation, the structure of the vendor’s operation (whether a corporate with succession or a sole proprietorship/business name), the importance of the software to the integral operation of your business. In the event where the software crashes or begins to malfunction, or where it needs to be updated due to the needs of the day, is it essential to have the source code and other related materials like build instructions, system integration design, user interface components, and so on deposited with a third party? If affirmative, then you need an escrow. Iron Mountain Inc [2], one of the world’s leading escrow agents, identified some qualitative assessments to help determine your business’s risk level in identifying whether your business requires an escrow. [3] Some of it include; the number of users, customer impact, initial investment, subcontractor partnerships, vendor stability, license fees, installation, restraining inter alia. In conclusion, an escrow agreement is a smart tool for mitigating risks associated with the acquisition of technology, precisely software technologies. By accompanying your SLA with an Escrow Agreement and your data package, you are very well poised to diminish the attendant loss that accompanies software crashes and failures, and this might just save your business. Notes [1] Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 [2] [3] About the Author Ibrahim Usman Wali is a member of the Capital Markets team at Omaplex Law Firm. He delivers ground breaking advice in mature and growth markets, tech translating to innovative thinking and solutions. He covers a range of security products, including debt and equity, high yield, structured finance and derivatives, securitization, corporate trust among others. He has advised high profile clients comprising global investment banks, SEC and Nasdaq-listed corporates, sovereigns and private individuals alike. #IbrahimUsmanWali #legaltech #escrow #Nigeria

  • Kanban Method for Lawyers: online course

    Despite the speed of social, economic, technological and regulatory changes over the last decades, lawyers and professionals in the legal sector are still anchored to the more traditional work and management styles. The globalisation of all industries, the appearance of disruptive technologies and the digitalisation of knowledge services are but a few of the new scenarios that lawyers and professionals in the legal sector are facing. The liberation of legal services has led to new players taking action, which has provoked an explosion of new business models that are creating a much more competitive market. The legal services industry is going through an accelerated and highly complex transformation from which there is no going back. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken everyone from the comfort of the office, bringing to light the real work we each do and bring to our teams and organisations, and has accelerated the need for a change. Incorporating organisational and business agility, which means changing the way we manage work and teams to achieve different outcomes, leading with new values to adapt to the new context and respond quickly to constant change, is the greatest challenge for the legal services industry in the coming years. Kanban Method for lawyers The Kanban Method is an alternative path for professional legal services to business agility. Applying the Kanban Method on teams and organisations on the legal sector offers us a new way to design, manage and improve services in the legal sector. Strengthens collaboration and teamwork naturally, creating a human approach to change management fostering leadership at all levels. The principal benefits that the applicability of the method offers us are: Sustainability and balance and work Effective collaboration between professional Leadership at all levels Provision of customer-oriented services Continuous improvement in management Business survival and strategy The Kanban Method is simple to understand but not so easy to apply. Obtaining its full benefits depends on the way it is implemented, along with the appropriate training and knowledge. Attending to this course, you will be able to access to a certified training on the basics of Kanban Method, adapted to the legal sector. After taking the course you will be capable to start implementing the Kanban Method “next Monday” applying first Kanban Practices in your day-to-day work. Who should attend? Lawyers and professionals of the legal sector who want to find a way to: Perform the work in an orderly, balanced and efficiently manner without feeling overloaded. Define criteria for prioritizing work, focusing on what to work on now, what to leave until later and what to discard altogether, ending with “everything is urgent”. Foster better teamwork, collaboration, communication and trust. Improve service delivery to “get things done” with quality, improved speed, and predictability, Focus on customer satisfaction by providing high value services, flexible and in tune with their present needs and business goals. Create agile organizations and resilient businesses that are capable of reinventing themselves. What will you learn? You will be introduced to the basic concepts of the Kanban method applied to the legal services and industry You will learn how to detect overloading of individuals and other causes of low efficiency in individual and work management. You will learn to increase productivity, individual and team satisfaction, speed and quality in work, and improving evolutionarily. You will learn to manage work visually using a kanban board, implementing work policies and conducting effective meetings. Content: Motivations and benefits to apply Kanban Method Principles and values of the Kanban Method What is a kanban system How to design a kanban board and a ticket How to manage service delivery workflow kanban How to apply the practices of the Kanban Method Overview of Kanban Method basic Meetings Kanban key metrics and graphics Introduction to the Kanban Maturity Model The practical implementation of the Kanban Method requires relatively little effort and not only improves legal services delivery but also manages change towards business agility. What will you get? High quality interactive online training adapted to professionals in the legal sector and focused on the uniqueness and complexity of legal services. Training materials in electronic format (pdf format) Official certificate from the Kanban University. Access to discounts for STATIK workshops (System Thinking Approach to Implement Kanban) 2 free coaching sessions that will help you implement and adapt the Method in your team and organization. Dates and duration The course will be developed online in 4 work sessions of 3 hours. All sessions will be live and interactive. Spanish 1) Monday 18 to Thursday 21 October, 2021. 2) Tuesday 26 and Thursday 28 October, Tuesday 2 and Thursday 4 November 2021. English 3) Tuesday 16, Thursday 18, Tuesday 23 and Thursday 25 November, 2021. 4) Monday 29 November to Thursday 2 December, 2021. We can facilitate private courses for your team or organization in your premises. Contact for more information here: E-mail: Tel.: +34 610 258 431 #Kanban #lawyers #course

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