MinterEllison leverages Josef to launch timely advice tool for Directors

Apply now or face $13,000 in fines

That was the story for over 1 million company directors across Australia come 30 November 2022. 

As the ABC reported, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) wanted to clamp down on unverified “dummy directors” and was prepared to fine those who failed to apply for their Director Identification Number (DIN) before the looming deadline.

But how do you apply exactly? 

For those looking for help, look no further than innovation powerhouse MinterEllison. The firm’s DINa™️ bot allowed directors to quickly learn which DIN application to make and how. 

We spoke with the firm’s Head of Legal Operations – Consulting Solutions, Charley Orr, to hear more about the tool and learn how it all worked.

Charley Orr, Head of Legal Operations - Consulting Solutions, MinterEllison.

Charley Orr, Head of Legal Operations - Consulting Solutions, MinterEllison.

Hi Charley! Can you share how the DINa™️ bot first came about?

Sure, I’ll start at the beginning. The first iteration of the bot was built during this year’s Bot week which provided a crash course on how to ideate, design and build digital tools on Josef.

Examining the ATO’s application process, paralegal Hugh Sanson identified several opportunities that could be streamlined. He noticed

  1. It wasn’t clear how to actually apply for a DIN, and
  2. It wasn’t clear which application you should make depending on your circumstance.

We ran two competitions that week: one for Best bot built and one for Best bot idea. Hugh won the former with what ultimately became the DINa™️ bot! We’ve been working to share it with the public ever since.

Shout-out to Hugh! How does the DINa™️ bot work exactly?

The bot’s designed to prepare users looking to make a DIN application. It asks five questions and once complete, users should know what they need to prepare and which application to make. 

The bot’s final recommendation depends on a few things, one being whether you’re making an onshore or offshore application.

We wanted to simplify the application process since the legislation can be quite verbose, so by keeping the bot short and asking only the most relevant questions, we can save people hours of preparatory research.

“We wanted to simplify the application process so people can save hours of preparatory research.”
– Charley Orr, Head of Legal Operations - Consulting Solutions, MinterEllison.

What other benefits have you identified?

Well, firstly, it’s quite the timely tool.

All directors of a company, registered Australian body, registered foreign company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation will need a Director Identification Number by 30 November 2022.

As of 4 November, there were more than 1 million people yet to get their DIN. This would make them ineligible to run companies and could face fines of up to $13,000 each!

The bot provides simple, practical advice and even features a direct line to our DIN team. This is particularly helpful for those seeking further, more complex answers.

More broadly, it’s a great way for us to show our innovation nouse!

We’re able to demonstrate how we can add further value through digital innovation, which always helps when building relationships with clients.

MinterEllison's DINa™️ bot in action!

MinterEllison's DINa™️ bot in action!

Talk us through how you launched the bot.

We did a soft-launch semi-recently in which various MinterEllison partners asked known clients to trial the bot.

We’re now ready to launch the bot to the public and we’ll run a campaign via our socials, industry connections and directorship associations to make sure it reaches all the right people.

We’re also very happy to have been named a finalist at this year’s Australian Legal Tech Association (ALTA) Awards in the ‘Outside the Square’ category.

The category’s specifically for tools demonstrating a problem-solving mindset, so all in all it’s shaped up to be quite the launch!

Congrats on the nomination! Do you have any learnings you can share from this project?

It’s been a great lesson in how to launch an external, public-facing resource.

Like with everything, there’s some degree of risk that comes with launching new, widely accessible tools. Whether it concerns information security or privacy implications, etc. We’ve made sure everything’s set and I’m super proud that it’s finally out. 

Now we have a framework on how to operate internally when future opportunities arise. We know what we can streamline and what’s great is that we have the whole firm behind us. On to the next!

Want to learn more?

Check out MinterEllison’s DINa™️ bot now. 

Alternatively, learn about MinterEllison’s 2025 strategy. Through digital innovation, they’re changing the face of law.

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