Smiths Group’s director of legal operations launches own advisory business

Jamie Fraser has left his role as director of legal operations and innovation at FTSE 100 giant Smiths Group to launch his own advisory business that will help legal functions with everything from strategic redesign and tactical implementation to helping GCs to get a project over the line.

Fraser, who has been at Smiths Group since 2011 and in the legal ops role for the past three and a half years, today (3 February) officially starts as CEO of NineNineSix Solutions – ‘996’ is a working hours system in China endorsed by the likes of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, meaning that employees work from 9am to 9pm for six days a week. Fraser told Legal IT Insider: “I’m flipping that and saying to corporates: ‘You are working 996 but what you really should be doing is working smarter, and I can help you.’” The new offering will be a mixture of law, technology and design and Fraser says: “It’s about bringing a modern approach to legal services.”

Fraser joined Smiths as a divisional GC from IBM, where he was a commercial IT lawyer. He then joined Smith Group’s oil and gas business as associate GC for two years, where he was in effect doing a legal operations or chief of staff role, working on building teams and changing processes. Forward-thinking former GC Michael Herlihy recognised the wider potential and Fraser says: “Michael said ‘don’t do that on a divisional basis do it across the group’, so we came up with the director of legal ops role and title.”

Within Smiths Fraser created an internal on demand lawyer consultancy and introduced a triage system to direct work to the right place. He was appointed to help Herlihy radically restructure the legal team and achieve centralisation across its five divisions: John Crane, Smiths Medical, Smiths Detection, Smiths Interconnect and Flex-Tek. You can read our interview with Fraser and Herlihy here:

Fraser says that the sort of client who will benefit most from NineNineSix Solutions is likely to be a mid-market legal team who don’t have a legal operations function but he says: “At the same time I can help the GC of a startup or scale up looking to scale or grow and get their foundations right, as well as a big team that has a project they need help with or want help to get over the line.”

You can read more about Fraser’s recent achievements and roles here: