传统观念通常认为法务部门是公司的费用部门，虽然没有营收部门明确的KPI考核标准，但日常工作中我们也非常关注人员的专业产出和工作价值，并通过对每个员工的工作内容的定性定量形成一套价值评估标准，从而通过部门内部以及跨部门的组织架构调整、人员工作职能调整，以及流程建构及优化，提升整个工作链条的的人员效率，尽可能地降低人均成本。比如通过对团队员工的工作内容的评估，剥离非法务专业性内容的工作，对大量重复低效的工作，及时通过SOP（Standard Operating Procedure ），特定工作指南等输出提升工作效率，持续优化标准合同等形式降低沟通成本。通过这样的形式，不仅可以提高人均工作产出，提升团队工作效率，也让团队成员能够专注更有挑战的工作任务，降低长期重复劳动带来的疲倦感，提升工作活力，也提高团队的稳定性。
ALB Conversations: Deng Yang, Vice-President and Chief Legal Officer of Douyu TV
Ms. Deng Yang is the Vice-President and Chief Legal Officer of Douyu TV and one of the Enterprise Advanced Individuals on Intellectual Property of National Intellectual Property Administration. She has over a decade of experience in legal management of Internet companies, and used to serve in a number of listed companies by engaging in legal compliance, dispute prevention and control and intellectual property management. With rich experience in the practice of legal affairs and risk management in the industry of Internet content, Miss Deng is especially adept at intellectual property innovation, protection and dispute handling in the field of games and live streaming.
ALB: What is your strategy for building and managing the legal team?
Deng Yang: Although the legal department is not a business department, it plays an important "hub" role in the whole business process. From the beginning of the business negotiation and contract signing to the follow-up contract performance, the legal department covers the whole life cycle of the business. Our strategy mainly consists of three parts:
1. Proactively adapt and manage business risks
First, the legal team should actively participate in the business at the earliest possible time, carry out a comprehensive, full cycle of risk identification and sorting. Take the contract as an example, we will classify the contract, and then carry out the preset of risk points in the system and process as well as prompt early warning according to the category, and carry out corresponding follow-up and treatment as well as risk control measures. At present, we mainly have three modules, namely comprehensive business (including contract anchor and product compliance management), dispute handling (including all kinds of disputes and lawsuits), and intellectual property rights (including patent and trademark rights protection and risk prevention). Based on this, we have formed a set of interlocking risk prevention and control mechanisms, and established a complete feedback mechanism among internal groups. Problems exposed at the business level can be effectively transmitted across the whole department, thus forming a closed loop for risk identification, management and exposure. For example, for the risks exposed in litigation, we will make timely adjustment of products and contracts; for another example, if we receive a warning letter due to infringement of advertising materials, we will review the corresponding advertisers or advertising agencies in a timely manner and readjust the audit mechanism of suppliers and the audit standards of different suppliers.
The decision-making level of Douyu pays full attention to risks prevention and control, as well as the management of legal team, giving us sufficient authority during our daily work to enable us to truly participate in the business. For risks management work, we have developed a standard process and set clear compliance requirements for the business team. At the same time, we have also worked with the HR department to develop corresponding incentive and punishment measures and review system to ensure an effective implementation of compliance policies. In addition, we also maintain a good communication and training mechanism with the business department, keep balance between business needs and legal risks control, reduce disagreements with business teams and keep constant compliance training to gradually cultivate the risk awareness of the business department and reach a consensus on business cooperation and product plans.
2. Focus on cost control and efficiency improvement
The legal team is very cost-conscious and try to make people as efficient as possible. Although we do not have KPI standards like business teams, we still pay a lot of attention to the work value of our professionals, and form a value evaluation standard for each employee. We adjust the organization structure within and cross the department, optimize the process and improve the efficiency of the whole work chain, trying our best to reduce cost. For example, by evaluating the legal department employees’ work contents, we reduced many non-legal professional and repetitive work. By using the SOP (standard operating procedure) and certain work guides, the efficiency has been improved, and the communication cost is reduced by standard contracts. In this way, our team can focus on more challenging work instead of spending time doing repetitive work, making the team more stable.
3. Continuous personnel training mechanism
We make full use of internal and external resources to establish a systematic professional capacity training mechanism. In an inland city, it is not easy to recruit legal talents with Internet experience. Therefore, we have formulated a talent training mechanism to promote the growth of legal team in the internal system. At the same time, I also pay close attention to the industry dynamics, master new professional knowledge timely, introduce various tools and external professional resources and training resources, and keep the team learning regularly. We also encourage and even require employees to summarize their experiences in writing, share their experiences through we-media or online communication, and make progress together.
In addition, we actively cultivate the legal staff's ability to find and solve problems, especially complex problems. The legal team needs to know how to balance the potential conflicts between business and law, and more importantly, it needs to have the vision to find problems and the ideas to solve problems. In work, we also value our employees’ communication skills, their ability of dealing with non-regular issues and resource integration. By pairing senior employees with new ones, virtual work groups, brainstorming and so on methods, problems are timely spotted and communicated. Employees’ logical analytical capabilities are improved. And they will have chances to step in management work.
ALB: How has this year's outbreak affected your team's and your company's operations? As General Counsel, how did you lead your team to respond?
Deng: The impact of the epidemic is mainly reflected in two aspects: first, as we are located in Wuhan, a special city during the epidemic, we faced a major problem of staff loss because many people had to suspend their work due to the pandemic. At the same time, recruitment outside the province is also becoming more and more difficult, leading to our current staff strain and workload surge. However, thanks to our previous work rotation system and mature training mechanism, we still managed to keep the impact under control. Second, against the backdrop of the epidemic sweeping the world and the slowdown in globalization, we estimate that friction and disputes in overseas business may increase. Therefore, we will not only strengthen personnel reserves, but also re-evaluate the overall policy and legal risks, introduce reasonable assessment tools and make risk prevention and control plans in advance.
ALB: What compliance system have you established for the enterprise? What are the advantages of the system?
Deng: In addition to the compliance strategies and initiatives among the various business teams mentioned earlier, we have introduced a variety of systematic tools for process construction and time management. First, we have adopted IT means to constantly optimize the department process including finance, business, research and development, etc., to get through the cooperation between various departments, improve the efficiency of cross-department work. Second, we focus on data analysis to strengthen the process of time management. Take the contract as an example, we will regularly count the time taken by each process, and reduce the need for manual filling, and repetitive and unnecessarily complex work. We established a basic information base for repetitive information, visualize the reference data for review and provide basis and support for fast decision-making. According to the overall development plans of the business, we plan the needs of data analysis beforehand, determine the source data for analysis and data capture granularity as well as analysis dimensions, integrating data analysis into the whole data management work of contract and legal early and timely,.
ALB: How is technology being used in Douyu's compliance system? How has the use of technology in the work of the legal team evolved or changed since you took the role of GC? What will the future hold?
Deng: In 2017, we introduced the Bestsign's e-contract signing system, which has really helped us a lot. On Douyu platform, there are a large number of streamers who are in different cities with us, so the signing of the contract will involve postal delivery. This not only increases the economic and time costs, but also poses a greater risk: it is difficult to be sure whether the contract is signed by the streamers themselves, which brings potential litigation risks to the live-streaming platform. Through multi-element verification, Bestsign's system ensures the identity of the contract signatory, thus ensuring the validity of the contract and helping us solve risks at the fundamental level. In addition, the signing of e-contracts also significantly reduces the cost of management, as the work efficiency of contract scanning, archiving, storage, retrieval and so on has been greatly improved.
In addition, we have also introduced many other external tools, including corporate information authentication, corporate history information query, online notarial system, online infringement monitoring system, etc. We actively focus on the external tools currently available in the market. As long as they are effective, we will try our best to introduce them into the overall system to improve the level of risk control.
ALB: What are your plans for work in the next three to five years?
Deng: First, we need to strengthen our business support. As a content platform, Douyu's content coverage audience, content form, category and other aspects may have new changes. As a legal team, we will continue to identify and deal with the risks brought by the changes, and meanwhile improve the relevant knowledge reserve and the corresponding personnel reserve.
Second, at present, laws and regulations related to the live broadcast industry and the legal system thereof are not advanced enough, and there are a lot of frictions and disputes among various subjects in the industry chain. We need to actively participate in the process of legal construction, judicial interpretation and sorting out typical cases while dealing with disputes, so as to promote the legal process.
Third, we will continue promoting the IT process and strengthen data analysis and management. At present, we have enjoyed the support brought by the new technology, and we will also find more space for optimization, so as to continuously improve our workand efficiency.
Last but not least, the increase of Internet users in China has been slow down, making the overseas market a new battlefield for Chinese enterprises in the future. Therefore, we will prepare ourselves to provide legal support for future.
ALB Conversations is a weekly series of in-depth Q&As with leaders of law firms and in-house legal departments across Asia. If you are a managing partner or general counsel based in the region who is interested in being a part of this series, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.