Leading maritime lawyer Alison Cusack shares her automation journey

When someone says “Maritime Law” do you think of pirates? Us too. 

After speaking with Josef aficionado and Principal Lawyer of Maritime Law firm Cusack & Co we came to understand the practice area is about so much more than seafaring bandits. In fact, we almost want to (ahem) jump ship and start working for Alison ourselves. 

“The surprising thing about maritime law is how much of the world you gain insight into. I know when there’s a typhoon happening in Japan, when there’s a drought in Queensland, when it’s bumper grain season for exporting, when there are sanctions in Russia or a tariff change in India. I know when Durban is flooding and when marine pilots in Shanghai have covid,” explains Alison. 

Her answer makes sense considering the ocean covers more than 70 percent of the world’s surface, right?

Why maritime law?

Alison’s trajectory into the practice of maritime law is as interesting as the practice area itself.

Before realising she was better suited to the study of law, Alison leveraged her mathematical abilities to study electrical engineering. Unlike so many of her law school counterparts, Alison knew relatively early on, which practice area she wanted to pursue.

Following the great tradition of law students globally, Alison aimed to stuff her CV full of extracurriculars and, somehow, in her second year of university found herself competing in an international maritime law moot. It was love at first debate. 

“I then went on to do my honours dissertation on a shipping law concept. By the time the GFC hit, I was told not to “niche down” too early and snooker my career options. But it was too late. I was obsessed,” says Alison.

Upon graduating from university, Alison worked as a graduate for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). From there, she went in-house to ANL Container Line Pty Ltd to pursue maritime law. Alison credits her time at the ATO for her understanding of the inner workings of government and her time in-house for her efficiency. 

“It was a very bizarre experience starting as an in-house lawyer because you have no peers. And your clients are there all the time, coming out of the tea room! Running my own firm, I have really clear insight into how my clients think,” she says. 

Founding a firm

Having made the decision to practise law in a heavily male-dominated area, it’s little surprise Alison went on to break further barriers by setting up her own firm. 

“I work on both front and back end matters. Reviewing standard trading terms and conditions, working on process, preemptive recovery. Reactive work as well, that involves responding to urgent issues and making quick decisions,” she explains. 

Alison’s job requires her to either improve the legal framework her client is operating within or put out spot fires on the other side, providing her clients with learnings they can put into their future planning.

“I like to use the analogy of paying expensive school fees. It’s paying now for the education and infrastructure that creates a more successful long term outcome,” says Alison.

“I get a high volume of what I call client “email vomit” - loads of information that hasn’t been sifted through to determine what is highly relevant. Josef is user friendly and delivers information in the way that I want to see it. ”
– Alison Cusack

Why Josef?

Armed with coding knowledge from her years studying engineering, she understands the inherent benefits of automating processes that do not require human brainpower. 

“I get a high volume of what I call client “email vomit” – loads of information that hasn’t been sifted through to determine what is highly relevant,” she says

Alison has created a triage bot using Josef. The bot collects all information about the claimant, shipment, damage and recovery process and delivers it in one email and one PDF attachment directly to Alison.

“It’s user friendly and delivers information in the way that I want to see it. The process is great for the user and the outcomes are great for me,” she says. 

And if that wasn’t enough? Josef also manages Cusack & Co’s engagement agreements, to boot!

Automate time-wasting processes

If you’re interested in discovering how to automate time-wasting processes, try a free demo with Josef today. 

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