Navigating the law in tech innovation – Meet Craig Sharp

Navigating the law in tech innovation – Meet Craig Sharp

The next person in our series of people behind CVCheck is our General Counsel Craig Sharp.

Explain your role at CVCheck

Anything legal hits my desk: clients, partner and supplier contracts, our terms and conditions and much more.

A lot of it is also to do with privacy. My job is about making sure we place great importance on our customer’s privacy. Our company prides ourselves on our privacy by design, which means when we build a new process or update an existing one, privacy obligations are central to that process.

Tell us about your life before CVCheck

From Law School, I was lucky enough to start at a top tier law firm, now known as Herbert Smith Freehills. I stayed there 20 years. I spent a lot of that role working in the dispute department. Within that team, I spent a large part of my time in project litigation. These cases always have large teams and top QCs, the kind that involves people pushing trolleys of folders of documents up the streets of the CBD.

The upside of this time is that I saw some of the best legal minds over an extended time, and learnt a lot from excellent teachers. The downside was working on the same cases for an extended time.

I was lucky enough to work part-time at Freehills while my children were at school, so I could enjoy the time with them while they were young.

Understandably, I was looking for something different after 20 years at Freehills, when I saw an ad for the Legal Counsel role at CVCheck. I was looking for in-house council experience, so I had an interview with the CVCheck founder Steve Carolan, and started working for the company shortly after.

Once I began work and got to know the business and people, I formed the view that this was an interesting business with a bright future, and I’ve been at CVCheck for six years now.

Describe the culture at CVCheck

We have a great culture at CVCheck. Everyone lives and breathes our values. It’s full of great people.

Every single staff member is committed to solving problems or improving the customer experience.

How has CVCheck changed since you started at the company?

In heaps of ways. I was employee number 11, now we’re at 70+ staff. On my first day at CVCheck, we were squeezed into half an office. Since then, we’ve moved twice, each time to bigger offices, and then acquired the New Zealand business.

From a legal perspective, we have gone from a small private company to a publicly listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange. I helped managed this process with Rod our then CFO, now CEO.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Being part of building something from the ground up

When did you realise that you were good at your job and passionate about it?

During the first big case I worked on, three to five years in to my career, just before becoming a Senior Associate. I was working on a trial that had gone to appeal. A partner of the firm came to my office asking for an update. I produced the document to him, and I remember he was effusive in his praise, and was surprised that I had gotten the case to the point I had, and needed little input from him. That’s when I felt for the first time ‘hey, I’ve got this.’

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Listen and understand, not just hear. Try to understand how things look from the other side, whether it’s a coworker reading your work, or the opposition legal counsel. Thinking about your audience is crucial.

What does innovation mean to you?

From a legal perspective, people think the law is fixed and rigid, but innovation can be found in law. If you think about what each party wants to achieve, and think laterally about what can be done, you can create a solution that meets everyone’s requirements.

How do you relax?

Spending time with my family. My wife and I have three kids, and it’s always fun spending time with them. My youngest is a nine year old boy, so there’s usually lots of sports involved.

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