Meet Thomas Kaldor
Tom is Head of Legal Transformation. He’s responsible for identifying and implementing innovative models of legal service delivery for large corporates and fast-growing businesses. We speak to him about working remotely in France, staying engaged and working in an open plan office.
What’s a day at LegalVision for you?
No one day is the same in the Legal Transformation team. I just got back from remotely working in Aix-en-Provence, France. I’d get up early to connect with Australia, so here is a typical day in France:
7am-9/10am: Call people back home. Check in with the Transformation team for updates on project progress. I also use this time to see if I can help with any current projects and clear my emails.
10am-2pm: My Australian work is done and it’s time for a French noisette and a croissant. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse myself in the French culture. I wander 150 metres to the daily market, speak some French and get some groceries and French cheese. The food and French immersion recharge me for work until my wife returns from her course around lunchtime. We have a picnic with the produce I bought earlier.
2pm-5pm: After lunch, I return to work for a clear afternoon with no Australian interruptions. I use the time to work strategically on projects. For example, I focused on a new product that helps lawyers work on reviewing legal documents more efficiently.
What do you do when you’re not transforming legal services?
- Learning French: I was born in France to Australian parents and came back to Australia when I was 18-months-old. I learned French at school and the trip to Aix-en-Provence was to cement my learning of the language. I came back upper-intermediate and we even started a French-speaking group at LV (we have a big group of French speakers) which we host at lunch.
- Croissants: In France, I started an Instagram on croissants from around the world. It’s like a travel journal (@thepastrypest).
- Music: I’m the lead singer in a band. At the very start of this trip to France, we stopped off in Tokyo to play a gig. Our band is scattered around the world so it was nice to meet up again and play in Japan altogether. The band doesn’t get as much time as I’d like. I also play the drums.
What gets you up in the morning?
My alarm. I am not very good in the morning! Then, a croissant.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
The people I work with.
I also love working on projects at the cutting edge of the legal industry. I’ve always been driven by doing things differently. Feeling that I am working on projects at the forefront of change is really cool and LegalVision supports it and works proactively towards it.
I also love learning new things at LegalVision – sales theory, design thinking, product management, all driven by new projects and business need.
What surprised you most about working at LegalVision?
That I could stay in an organisation more than a year and be engaged.
I was a researcher at the Supreme Court, a grad at Allens and then took a year of absence to work with Justice Kiefel in the High Court. My next one year project turned out to be three years at LV. It’s nice to be engaged, challenged and making an impact at LV. It’s been a surprise to be so fulfilled and engaged.
What’s an unexpected skill you developed at LegalVision?
Working in an open plan office. Pre-LegalVision, I detested noise and couldn’t work with it! It was sort of reflective of old-law work. Open-plan collaboration has really opened my mind and helped me interact with other teams. Learning that skill has been hugely valuable.
Being comfortable with minimum viable products (MVPs) has also been really valuable. 110% done isn’t the rule here, unlike other law firms. We just push out MVPs. We know viable is critical but we also understand it’s more important to get the product out. It’s an awesome and efficient way to run a project.
Finding the balance is tough but you can only learn it by having a go and practicing.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
I don’t get through a lot of books as I’m a notoriously slow reader. I am reading Memoirs of a Bleeding Heart by Don Watson, which is the biography of Paul Keating.
When I need a break from that, I read a magazine – the New Yorker or The Economist. An easy fix for a mind break.
For podcasts, I like The ScrumMaster Toolbox. It’s about project managing with agile methodology. We’re always testing new ways of working and agility is really important to us. This podcast really helps with project management.
Enjoyable music to work to is very helpful – I put on my noise-cancelling headphones and listen to something that’s light on lyrics and good on tunes, like music by Ólafur Arnalds. Ambient, lyric-light music helps with open plan deep thinking.
Most people overestimate what they can do in a day but underestimate what they can do in a year. – Attributed to Bill Gates