Community spotlight with Angus Niven (GC, BoxPlay.io)
Angus Niven on moving in-house during the pandemic and taking his company to net zero
Every week at Crafty Counsel we focus on getting to know more about one of the members of our in-house legal community. This week we speak to Scotland based Angus Niven from Box Media, which is an education and learning platform and technology company with offices in California, London and Edinburgh.
Angus started working in-house during the pandemic after working at a firm specialising in property law.
During the first lockdown Angus took a business course at the London School of Economics as over the years in private practice he was “increasingly becoming more interested in the business side of things”. He says the course boosted his “desire to make that step out” from private practice to an in-house role.
What he enjoys most about his role is that he gets to do “something different every day and it's always changing." He loves to learn new things and to develop new skills. He says that is one of the reasons he joined Box Media. “Learning and development plays such a huge role in everything that we do that it's been good to get involved with all of that” Angus says.
Angus won the In-house Rising Star Award in 2021 from the Law Society of Scotland. He was nominated by the executives of his company and says it was a major boost for him.
As a result of efforts by Angus the company achieved net zero status in 2021.
“We produce content and technology and not cement, so we were never the biggest emitter, but working with experts on that and developing a plan that ultimately has led to us becoming a net zero company was a big achievement for me” he says.
He says the company’s main carbon emissions came from business travel and energy consumption. He says some of the things the company does is to prioritise train travel over air travel and when they produce content everything for the production will be locally sourced.
Something cool Angus has seen in legal?
For Angus the oneNDA has been a positive initiative and “a step in the right direction”. He is also keeping an eye on smart contracts within blockchain or Web3. “It'll be interesting to see how that impacts legal and commercial processes as we get them more widely adopted,” he says. “It has all the core parts of something that's going to be absolutely revolutionary, but it's when everything else catches up to it that it will be interesting.”
One of the biggest challenges Angus has faced has been what he has most enjoyed - “the massive learning curve”.
This comes with getting his head around what every department in his company requires, he says.
The advice Angus would give to his younger self is to “keep doing the things that interest you or make you curious.” He says he spent a lot of time worrying about the next step, but he would advise his younger self to enjoy the journey more. “Rough stuff passes, the good stuff passes, everything passes,” Angus says.
“Sometimes there's not a set path that you're following. You're just taking experiences as they come and hopefully embracing interesting opportunities as they come up, rather than worrying about some big, large end game.” - Angus Niven
In his downtime Angus enjoys watching rugby and writing. He took part in an initiative in February called The Literal Challenge and wrote a short play every day for 28 days “it's all quite personal for me and a bit of a hobby and a pastime”.
Angus is part of the group for in-housers at high growth companies within the Crafty Counsel community. Register to discover a space where in-house legal professionals can connect, share experiences, and learn from each other.