Monzo Staff Weekly Q&A - Ellen Hepworth (Paralegal) 📜


(Simon B) #1

Note : All Monzo Q&As to date can be found here :grinning:


What is happening, Hot Coral Peeps?
We’re officially at 1.25million customers!!! :astonished:

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That means we’re well on the way to 2 million customers. Then 5 million, then 10 million! :up:

With this explosive growth, we have lots of initiatives going on.

We’re giving £10 to every new customer that signs up using a referral link this December :money_with_wings:
We’re moving forward on expanding our operation out in sunny Las Vegas! :sunny:
We’ve launched Pots on Joint Accounts, we’ve got Locked Pots coming shortly, and trust me… there’s so much more to come. :soon:

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Before we meet our star of the week, it’s catch up time! :grinning:

*Click here to see all previous Q&As*

Week 1 : Chris MacLean, Customer Operations & Vulnerable Customers :santa:t2:

Week 2 : James Nicholson, iOS Engineer :green_apple:

Week 3 : Tara Mansfield, People Operations Manager :woman_technologist:t5::man_technologist:t3:

Week 4 : James Routley, Backend Engineer :hammer_and_wrench:

Week 5 : Hugh Wells, Customer Operations :policeman:t3:‍♂

Week 6 : Naz Malik, Technical Specialist :computer:

Week 7 : Fred Morgan, COps Squad Captain (Calls & Social Media) :telephone_receiver:

Week 8 : Emma Northcott, COps Scaling Team :balance_scale:

Week 9 : Jarno Wolf, COps Financial Crime Specialist & Squad Captain :wolf:

Week 10 : Maria Campbell, Head of People :woman_office_worker:t2::man_office_worker:t4:

Week 11 : Jim Amey, Night COps Captain :bat: :crescent_moon:

Week 12 : Richard Cook, Online Community Manager :man_cook:

Week 13 : Beatrice Borbon, Content & Press Manager :newspaper:

Week 14 : Tom Blomfield, CEO :crown:

Week 15 : Ella Johanny, COps/Hiring :handshake:

Week 16 : Harry Ashbridge, Writer :writing_hand:t3:

Week 17 : Beth Scott, Overnight COps :cat2:

Week 18 : Georgie Parmenter, Executive Assistant to the Founders :blonde_woman:

Week 19 : Vulnerable Customers Team :sunflower:

Week 20 : Leah Templeman, Interim VP People :sun_with_face:

Week 21 : Daniel Chatfield, Backend Engineer, Fincrime & Security :closed_lock_with_key:

Week 22 : Valerio Magliulo, Product Manager - Revenue Team :money_with_wings:

Week 23 : Sam Watkin, Operations Analyst :thinking:

Week 24 : Kieran McHugh, Backend Engineer :desktop_computer:

Week 25 : Jonas Huckestein, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer :computer_mouse:

Week 26 : Annual Report Edition with Tristan Thomas and Julie Oey :calendar:

Week 27 : Zander Brade, Lead Product Designer :pencil2:

Week 28 : Richard Dingwall, Payments Engineer :moneybag: :wrench:

Week 29 : Oliver Beattie, Head of Engineering (Reliability Report Special) :watch:

Week 30 : Bruno Vaz Moço, Product Manager (Scalers) :balance_scale:

Week 31 : Dillon Van Auken, Remote COps Team Lead and Vegas Project Team Lead :first_quarter_moon_with_face: 🂡

Week 32 : Rhys Davies, COps Cardiff Office :dragon:

Week 33 : Emily Parrett, COps Call & The Gang :phone:

Week 34 : Liam Houghton, Ops Fixer :hammer_and_wrench:

Week 35 : Frances Coyle, Legal Team :scroll:

Week 36 : Shak Welch, COps Fincrime Specialist :police_car:

Week 37 : Sarah Allen, People Operations :woman: :man:

Week 38 : Simon B, COps Community Specialist :globe_with_meridians:

Week 39 : Natalie Price, Visual Designer :paintbrush:

Week 40 : George Webster, Night Cop :crescent_moon:

Week 41 : Brenda Wong, COps, Call & The Gang :telephone_receiver:

Week 42 : Niamh Power, Mobile Engineer (Android and iOS) :calling:

Week 43 : Vuokko Aro, Lead Product Designer :paintbrush:

Week 44 : Meri Williams, CTO :computer:

Week 45 : James Clyburn, COps Activity Lead :chart_with_upwards_trend:

Week 46 : Jacq Bridge, Ops Support Analyst :handshake:

Week 47 : Naji Esiri, Community Manager :tada:

Week 48 : Jessica Lascar, Product Designer :framed_picture:

Alright, let’s do this!

In the Hot Coral Hot Seat™️ this week, we have Ellen Hepworth, who is a Paralegal here at Monzo!

Ellen has been here since June 2018.

She’s currently working on:

“Protecting your data! GDPR is my current focus but I tend to get stuck in whenever someone needs an extra pair of hands.”

Fun Fact About Ellen:

“I’m an identical twin (she’s a doctor)!”

Her favourite thing about working at Monzo?

“The office dogs (if I have to pick an actual work thing, it’s that you can really get stuck in with whatever interests you)”

Get your questions in and Ellen will be here to answer them later this week :grinning:


(Simon B) #2

I’ll start. Such is the privilege of being the hostmaster.

If you and your sister had to swap jobs for the day, who would have a worse day and why? :thinking:


#3

Can I guess Ellen’s sister’s patients? :scream: (Though having said that, their data privacy issues might get cured! :stuck_out_tongue:)

Anyway! Questions!

  • I feel like I really ought to know what a paralegal is. But I don’t. Can you make me feel a touch less stupid, please? :wink:

  • If you could have any other job in Monzo, what would it be?

  • Do you agree that there’s a definite and certain legal need for forum members to go to the Las Vegas office?! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


(James) #4

Has there been any occasions where legal has had to stop a Monzo Time project because it’s legally not feasible :thinking: #KillJoy :wink:

What’s one misconception you think people have about your role?

What’s one random bit of legal research you’ve done at Monzo that you found particularly interesting?

What’s a typical day like in the legal department?

Ever watched Suits? How well does it reflect on your position?

From an external perspective Monzo still seems to encourage a lot of collaboration around the company. How embedded is the legal team with the rest of product/engineering/security etc?


(Edd Brisley) #5

What is the most fun thing about processing Subject Access Requests? :thinking:

When Monzo serves a billion customers, what will you and the legal team do to avoid becoming ‘the big bad bank’ type of lawyers? :woman_mage:


(Tom ) #6

What three items would you wish for should you be stranded on a desert island?

Food, drink or means of escape is not granted by this genie.


(Rachel Raybould) #7

Who is your favourite Monzo dog?
:dog:


(Ellen Hepworth) #8

Hi all! I will start posting answers tomorrow afternoon, thanks for getting involved :hot_coral_heart:


#9

What does a paralegal do day in day out at Monzo and do you have lawyer boss like Saul Goodman :smiley:


(Jack) #10
  • Have you ever explored any other avenues of law or originally wanted to go down a different path?

#11

What in your view is the biggest weakness of the GDPR regime and how would you correct it?


(Ellen Hepworth) #12

Definitely me! I think I could pretend to be a GP for the day and just promise everyone a referral. But she’s actually working in a hospital at the moment and I generally struggle to even take a pulse. :face_with_thermometer: I think she’d do a good job of legalling for a day, as lots of any legal role is researching a problem on the go (she can probably use her twin powers to guess my password to practical law.).

We actually used to swap places in school on April Fools Day, teachers could never tell but friends generally could. :woman_judge::woman_health_worker:


(Ellen Hepworth) #13

It’s true the NHS could be much better at data privacy! Fax machines?? :woman_facepalming:

I feel like I really ought to know what a paralegal is. But I don’t. Can you make me feel a touch less stupid, please? :wink:

Don’t feel stupid, paralegals aren’t usually in the public eye :hot_coral_heart: we basically work to support lawyers, it varies massively between companies though. In my old role I had my own clients, had meetings and went to court (this was in family law). Here I do lots of research and run a few smaller projects like handling the team’s knowledge we want to share, or optimising some of our processes (like data protection). You can basically do anything but shouldn’t be giving legal advice unsupervised until you’re fully trained.

I’m finishing up the last year of university I need (I’m a part time monzonaut), and will start my training to be a real lawyer at a firm next September.

If you could have any other job in Monzo, what would it be?

My first thought was CEO, but I suspect I’d be better in an engineer role (not that I have any coding skills at all). I’m actually hoping to take a few classes next year if I have time. :woman_technologist: I’m always amazed by how much I don’t know about tech and software, our engineers really know their stuff.

Do you agree that there’s a definite and certain legal need for forum members to go to to the Las Vegas office?

100%, the best way you can verify it exists is by sending a community representative, otherwise we might be open to claims of false advertising (please don’t actually use this as an argument I promise it does exist). :us:


(Ellen Hepworth) #14

Has there been any occasions where legal has had to stop a Monzo Time project because it’s legally not feasible :thinking: #KillJoy :wink:

I’m happy to say we’re not really that kind of team! To my knowledge it hasn’t happened, and I think for us to immediately kill a project for legal reasons it would have to be pretty bad and have failed a common sense check by the person running it. Sometimes we do work to lessen the legal risks associated with something, but it’s normally pretty collaborative. One of our team goals for this quarter was for the business to lose 0 days because of legal and I think we did pretty well at this. :muscle:

What’s one misconception you think people have about your role?

That we all wear suits and rush around going to court all the time (I have had to run to court before but not for Monzo) we’re all quite chilled out and friendly!

What’s one random bit of legal research you’ve done at Monzo that you found particularly interesting?

Legal research is one of my favourite things to do, one of the ones that was nice recently was looking into what legal risks we might have when we have our own help chat system instead of relying on another company’s tech. It’s really awesome to see bits of work I’ve done being used!

What’s a typical day like in the legal department?

It’s a little hectic for me because I only work one day a week while I’m at university :woman_student:, I usually come in around 10 (I like to sleep, sue me) and catch up on my slack messages and emails. We have regular team meetings to let each other know what we’re working on, share knowledge and plan, we also message each day in slack.

I normally spend most of my time on ongoing projects like recording how we process and share our customer’s data, there’s also a lot of legally queries from customers or other teams which I pick up. I also try and devote a part of my day for things I’m excited about that might not be super important to the business (like this Q&A) I’m hoping to do some legal instagram posts in January too. :iphone:

Ever watched Suits? How well does it reflect on your position?

I love Suits (but am not up to date). I think it actually shows the paralegal role quite well, lots of research and helping out the lawyers. :books: For the lawyer role I think it’s not very accurate, people tend to focus on one area of law but Harvey seems to do everything from crime to corporate deals.

I think they show some of the pressures lawyers face (but in an over dramatised way) often you do work to crazy court deadlines, or have clients make decisions you might not agree with. It’s also way less competitive in real life, peers tend to help each other out rather than try and undercut them.

From an external perspective Monzo still seems to encourage a lot of collaboration around the company. How embedded is the legal team with the rest of product/engineering/security etc?

I think we do this pretty well, but it was another of our goals to let each team know who they should speak to in legal when needed (to save time). We’re quite easy to contact and run several slack channels for different types of query and people do pop over to our desks for a quick chat quite often.

I like to follow loads of slack channels I think are interesting even if I’m not involved so occasionally I do jump into a conversation without warning but this isn’t a very efficient way of doing things!

Thanks for your questions! :hot_coral_heart:


(Ellen Hepworth) #15

Of course everything about Subject Access Requests is super fun, but the serious answer is that it’s nice to see customers understand how to exercise their rights as focus on data privacy becomes more important. For those who don’t know what this is, it’s basically where a customer asks a company for a copy of all the data they hold on you (here’s the big ICO guidance on this).

:mage: I think this is one of the big benefits of a transparency culture, it’s harder for things like this to go so badly wrong, but we shouldn’t rely on other people to sense check us. The biggest thing we can and should do is be mindful of the culture we want when hiring, the customer should always be the priority.

It also helps that we don’t have a lot of the hangovers of banking culture some of the older banks do, for example at the moment we don’t invest any customer money ourselves so we’re very far away from being a ‘casino bank’.


(Ellen Hepworth) #16

:books: A kindle loaded up with books
:heart_eyes: My boyfriend (you didn’t exclude people)
:sunny:Suncream!


(Ellen Hepworth) #17

I am looking at Bingo while I draft this so feel a bit mean, but I would have to say Dustin, although someone has just joined the bank of desks behind me and she has an adorable french bulldog called Henry who I’m looking forward to meeting.:dog2:


(Ellen Hepworth) #18

:laughing: Thankfully not! When I was working in a high street firm in family law we did have a popular radio jingle though :radio:

Frances is my direct manager and she is absolutely lovely. :hot_coral_heart:

(Edited to actually respond to the rest of your question!)

I’ve touched on it a bit above but here is my to do list for when I’m next in the office (lot’s of bits will pop up during the day too):

  • Finish drafting a contract for a new service we want to try out
  • Work on migrating some of our knowledge onto a new platform so its easy to find! I’ve been doing this by hand, but someone showed me how to import whole pages recently :woman_facepalming:
  • Get some more feedback on a draft data mapping policy before I tell people they have to follow it!
  • Help out the Hiring team with a subject access request from a candidate

(Ellen Hepworth) #19

:thinking: I actually took a much slower route into law than some people, I really struggled to decide what I wanted to do after finishing 6th form, so studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at university because I was told that’s what to take if you’re not sure where you want to go. There was also a while I thought I was going to be an artist when I was a bit younger!

After graduating I spent more time thinking about it, nearly went in for graduate medicine, but decided to study the law conversion course a bit spur of the moment.

I knew I was a bit behind in terms of work experience and threw myself into every opportunity I could find. As a result I was able to do work experience last summer in a lot of law firms in London and did everything from bankruptcy, white collar crime, to shipping law. :motor_boat:

After being offered a training contract I filled some of my spare time working in family law, which I really enjoyed but I don’t think I would have found fulfilling in the long term.


(Ellen Hepworth) #20

I think it’s a nice piece of legislation, and while the cost of implementing it is pretty high for a bank, it’s so important that companies are using data in a fair and transparent way.

I’d like to see more funding for the regulator (the ICO in the UK) as it seems a little like they’ve been able investigate some high profile cases and make massive fines, but haven’t really had capacity to deal with smaller data breaches very quickly.

I also want to see more companies outside of the EU take it seriously, while lots are, there’s some companies that have just cut off access to their websites for users in the EU (a big American makeup store chain). There’s also a really interesting case where an American news site has started offering a GDPR compliant version in the EU which loads ridiculously faster due to the lack of adverts.

It feels a bit lazy where companies aren’t willing to give similar protections to their users outside of the EU to me.

(This has now turned into a long ramble sorry! I love a good law rant :sleeping:) I’m also very concerned about the impact Brexit will have on GDPR in the UK, there’s so much uncertainty over whether the UK will be seen as having sufficient privacy protections, and this makes planning very hard. There isn’t really a solution to this unfortunately! :eu: