Catching Up with Kaarina Ståhlberg of Posti Group

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D&I Quarterly Q2/2016

Posted on

3 May

2016

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Dittmar & Indrenius > Insight > Catching Up with Kaarina Ståhlberg of Posti Group

Before joining Posti Group Ltd. as their General Counsel in 2016, Kaarina worked, among other things, as General Counsel for Fortum Corporation and for 13 years in various positions at Nokia Corporation. At the beginning of her career she worked at Dittmar & Indrenius for several years, a period that she remembers fondly.

Q: What Are the Most Rewarding Things About Working at Posti Group?

After two years as an independent legal consultant, it has been incredibly rewarding to be part of a large workplace community again that’s made up of such a wide range of professionals from many different backgrounds. I have a long track record of working for a number of different types of corporations and it has been exhilarating to take on this new post and really see how I can apply my skills and use my experience to benefit others.

Overall, what Posti represents for me is a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the service business and the postal sector and about this unique organisation and, above all, about how to manage change, how to make it through to calmer waters without committing fatal errors while still continuing to create something new. The older you get, the more important it is to keep learning and exposing yourself to new things. Otherwise you might just end up treading water without realising it.

Q: What Legal Issues Have You Got Coming Up On the Horizon Over the Next Few Months?

The entire sector is undergoing a radical transition both in Finland and other countries. Digitalization has led to constantly decreasing mail volumes and continues to do so also in the future. The companies in the postal sector have to adapt their activities in this market development, by dramatically increasing the effectiveness of the traditional business, on one hand, and by creating new profitable business opportunities, on the other hand.

In the regulatory side, this is reflected in amendments in the postal regulation, and the Postal Act is currently under reformation in Finland, too. Governments in various countries have taken different approaches in regulating the postal business under the new circumstances. In some countries, e.g. Belgium, the Government is directly supporting the traditional business. In some other countries the requirements of the traditional postal services have been reduced in order to allow an activity that does not need support from the state budget but still meets the requirements of the end-users to a reasonable extent. Competition is opened in many countries, and now it is further opening in Finland too.

In addition to the business specific regulation, it is obvious that, for example, all the time evolving antitrust regulation and new data privacy regulation impose challenges to the business and interesting opportunities for lawyers to solve problems.

Q: In the Client Role, What Do You Value Most In the Customer Experience?

Law firms should place significantly more emphasis on understanding clients’ business needs. Carefully balanced and highly detailed legal analysis is sometimes needed but what we are really looking for is firm insight and clear answers. That’s not to say that the clients have room for complete self-satisfaction in this perspective as the old saying “the better the brief, the better the result” certainly holds true.

Another factor that impairs the user experience is the traditional practice of hourly billing that remains surprisingly prevalent in the industry. Although, again, it could be that the clients themselves are unable or unwilling to negotiate a different fee structure. The way I look at it is that the value of the work is rarely defined by the hours that are put in.

At the end of the day, user experience is highly personal. When you need to buy legal advice, the person you are going to contact is someone you appreciate as professional and like as person.

Q: Outside of Contracts and E-mails, What Are You Reading at the Moment?

Right now, I’m in the middle of reading Americanah, the new novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun. It’s always been important to me to have a broad view of the world, especially now that I’m working for such a staunchly Finnish business.

With my six-year-old, we are working our way through the Jules Verne oeuvre. His books are so rich and really help to set the imagination free, for both mother and son. At the moment we are reading Around the World in 80 Days. Before that, we read Captain Nemo, which was utterly amazing. I still can’t believe it was written in the 19th century! Or that it was written by a lawyer.

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