Get To Know Us | Linn Alfredsson, Associate, IP & Tech
7 May 2020
Linn Alfredsson has been recognised as one of the top legal tech innovators of 2019 by LegalTech, and she is a Women of Legal Tech 2020 honouree, a columnist for Sweden's largest law magazine, an LL.M. graduate from UC Berkeley School of Law, a creative doer with an interest in digital solutions, and a hard-core blockchain and AI enthusiast. Just recently, she was also nominated for Årets Justitia in Sweden.
We had a chat with Linn to discover how legal tech and emerging technologies – in particular blockchain and artificial intelligence – have become her passion and how technology is involved in her everyday work.
Can you tell us your secret to how you, as a young Nordic lawyer, were included in the American Bar Association’s global Women of Legal Tech list?
I do not think I have any secrets; it is always nice to be recognised as a strong voice amongst other professionals within the field you work in. As I have lived and studied in the US, I guess there is always a little bit of me still there. When I started working with legal tech and initiating Tech Academy Nordic, this was beyond of what I could ever have imagined. I hope to inspire more women in tech and more diversity in the legal field with what I do.
You work as a tech lawyer at Hannes Snellman. What kind of assignments do you work with?
Working as a tech lawyer at Hannes Snellman is truly a privilege. I get to work with amazing people every day, and no days are the same. Every day is a new adventure with various tasks and assignments, whether internal or external.
In our team, we work with everything from GDPR and cybersecurity issues to questions related to intellectual property, fashion, and retail. As I have a background within the fashion world, I generally have a commercial focus and support clients in negotiating deals for their benefit and making sure their e-commerce platforms are up to speed with the most recent consumer protection legislation.
Lately, my focus has shifted towards outsourcing, fintech, and data, which is a nice element that I would like to develop more in the future. With tech law, you generally also address various data-related issues and guide clients through newer technologies such as artificial intelligence, which is something I love.
You are the founder of Tech Academy Nordic. Why made you want to establish it?
Tech Academy Nordic is an initiative I have been managing since the autumn of 2018. I had just moved back from San Francisco and thought that the legal educational system in Sweden could use more tech education for young lawyers. Where I had studied previously, there were established courses and curricula including artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, and other exciting emerging technologies as well as interdisciplinary courses with students from other specialities. This was really an eye opener to me and I decided to do something about it.
Today, we host both online webinars and an annual two-day programme for law students across the Nordic countries. I believe that it is important to stay up to date with new developments as a young lawyer.
You have previously worked as an in-house legal counsel at H&M, and you have a strong background in fashion and retail. What is it that interests you in fashion law?
I will let you in on a secret; both of my parents have a background within the fashion industry, and when I was younger, I wanted to be a designer for a long time. During my first two years in law school, I took evening classes in arts and fashion, however as law school progressed, I eventually found my true calling and put all my energy towards finishing my law degree.
A strong interest in fashion has always been with me in more ways than one. Creating sustainable solutions and new textiles, patterns, etc. from environmentally friendly materials is still something I like to read about and stay updated on.
My years as an in-house legal counsel were amazing. I learned how to work as a lawyer on the business side of things, which I think is a big help today, as I understand the in-house perspective. It is exciting to have been a part of a global team at such a young age and to have managed many large negotiations across the globe, supporting all brands within the H&M Group – the learning curve was steep and always filled with new challenges.
You have an LL.M. degree from the US. Why did you decide to do an LL.M. and was the US the obvious choice for you?
My additional master’s degree within law and technology from UC Berkeley School of Law in California was not really planned. For a long time, I had thought about taking one more year to specialise further within technology, and when I was given the opportunity to do a degree at Berkeley, I took it.
It was one of the best choices I have made. Being in an interactive environment every day with both legal and tech experts was a dream come true for me. California and San Francisco were the obvious choice both in terms of the weather and as I spent many a summer there growing up.
What is the best part of your job at Hannes Snellman?
My fantastic colleagues and especially my team – they are my work family. The cross-border team where I get to be a part of one of the largest IP & Tech teams in the Nordic countries.
You have many tech-related things on your plate. Do you do anything that is not tech-related?
Right now, I have a lot of tech-related initiatives on my plate, however, I am also very passionate about questions related to diversity within the legal industry and would like to focus even more on those in the future.